A Spinnage Tart--Take good store of Spinage, and boyl it in a Pipkin, with White-Wine, till it be very soft as pap: then take it and strain it well into a pewter dish, not leaving any part unstrained: then put to it Rose-water, great store of Sugar and cinamon, and boyl it till it be as thick as Marmalad. Then let it coole, and after fill your Coffin and adorn it....--Gervase Markham, The English Housewife
Spinach "was held in special regard because it had reached the western world much later than the other greenstuff of medieval cookery," comments C. Anne Wilson in Food and Drink in Britain. "It came from Persia, through the Arabs, and was first recorded in the west by St. Thomas Aquinas. It arrived too late to acquire any traditional medicinal merits."
Here the Elizabethans treat spinach as a fruit, and with great success. It is fascinating to note how serendipity thrives among cooks who have no preconceived notions about the "proper" use of a particular food.
Bake pie shell at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until done. Let cool.
Wash and trim spinach. Put spinach directly into large enameled or aluminum pot without draining. Add wine.
Cover and steam spinach over medium flame for 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
Drain spinach and mince very fine.
In the same pot, combine rose water, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Add chopped spinach and stir to coat.
Simmer over very low flame, stirring occasionally, until all liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Fill pie shell with spinach mixture. Arrange sliced strawberries decoratively on top.
Chill at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar.