Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Recipe: Swiss Chard Tart

It's supposed to be Autumn. The calendar says so, the days are shorter, and the pecan trees are loaded with nuts; but the weather is still hitting 84°F (28.9°C) every day. I want to cook with the wonderful autumn vegetables that are in the market, but the traditional hearty stews, roasts and casseroles just seem heavy when you are wearing shorts and trying to stay cool.

So a compromise: an open face vegetable tart (very summer) made with autumnal veggies. 

Swiss Chard Tart
This is terrific. All of the ingredients are very ordinary things you can get almost year round, but it is more than the sum of its parts. It makes a wonderful lunch or light supper. It's also easy to put together, particularly if you cheat like I did and use a store bought pie crust. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool, because it smells fantastic!

Swiss Chard Tart


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 pound leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed of grit and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems discarded, leaves washed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins, plumped in boiling water for 10 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Make the Tart Crust

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour, rosemary, thyme and salt until blended. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with pieces no bigger than small peas, about 13-18 one second pulses.

2. Add the mixture to a bowl and drizzle with 4 tablespoons of water. Thoroughly mix with a fork to form a "shaggy" dough. Squeeze some in your hand. If it doesn't hold together, add the remaining water one tablespoon at a time. From into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F. (200 C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13 inch circle. Ease it into a 10-11 inch tart pan, fitting it snugly against the sides and bottom and trim the excess. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork and cover with parchment paper. Fill the tart shell with pie weights or beans and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and set aside the tart shell.

Make the Filling

4. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the leeks, covered, until softened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover, add the chard leaves and allow them to cook down and the excess water to evaporate, about 6-8 minutes.

5. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Pour the mixture in the pre-baked tart shell, scatter with the raisins and pine nuts and dot with the goat cheese.

Bake until the filling is set and puffy, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack to room temperature.

  • Instead of making the pastry, I kneaded the herbs into a store-bought pie crust.
  • I forgot to pre-bake the tart shell. It holds together, but the bottom would be a little firmer if I had.
  • I used dried herbs instead of fresh and walnuts instead of pine nuts. (I'm on a budget)
  • My goat cheese was very soft so I mixed it into the egg mixture instead of crumbling it over the top.

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