I have grown a fairly decent amount of Swiss chard (Its my first year of growing many things) I grew it from seed having made a conscientious decision to only use open-pollinated seeds, these were obtained from a local seed swap. I made spiced chard chips -the new kale chips 😉 and I pickled the stems in white wine and rice wine vinegar -for an Asian style pickle. I decided to make a Tourte de blettes with what was left over.
Tourte de blettes, obviously isnt form Yorkshire 😉 Its a ‘funny sounding’ French recipe from the South of france, Nice. This is important as French cooking is very regional, and what you find in Nice you wont find in Paris. Really it isnt as odd as it sounds we are all used to carrotcake and nowadays maybe beetroot and cougettes in cake too. You should try these things if you havent they’re good! So, we are talking about a balanced medium -not too sweet tart, a sweet thin pastry made with oil, and a filling of chard, parmesan, raisins (I used sultanas) pecans (I used almonds -straying a bit far for some but it worked wonderfully) eggs to set it and some cinamon and brandy for soaking the raisins/sultanas. If that reminds you of a near christmassy mincemeat filing you’d not be a million miles off. That said though, dont expect it to be like that! I used golden caster sugar throughout.
This my take on a Tourte de blettes. You can double this recipe for a larger tin. I used a small one.
For the pastry:
(160 g) plain flour
(30 g) golden sugar
small teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
(30ml) olive oil
1 large eggs
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk (if dry and it’s necessary)
For the filling:
250g of Swiss chard *leaves*
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
15g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
100g granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1 medium baking apples
Icing sugar to dust for presentation.
1. Make the pastry dough by mixing together the plain, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the olive oil and the eggs, mixing until the dough is smooth.
2. Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other, wrap each in clingfilm and shape the two dough portions into disks. Chill whilst you continue (its useful to chill for up to an hour or so if it is sticky)
(pastry dough can be made up to two days in advance.)
3.preheat the oven to 180ºC, I wait til the pastry is done as cool environment is often adventageous
4. Wash the chard leaves and place in a saucepan with a bit of water and a pinch of salt. Cover, and cook the leaves until they’re completely wilted, about 15 minutes.
5. Drain the leaves and run cold water over them, turning them as you rinse. This ‘sets’ the color. Once cool, squeeze the leaves as firmly as you can to extract as much water from them as possible. Dont be worried here your main aim is to avoid a watery tart!
6. Place the sultanas in a small saucepan and pour just enough brandy to cover. Simmer for a minute or two, until absorbed.Transfering to a cold bold to help them cool to room temperature.
7. Chop the Swiss chard and put it into a medium bowl. Coarsely chop the sultanas and almonds and add them to the chard. Stir in the cinnamon, Parmesan, and sugar, and then the eggs.
8. Lightly grease a small tart pan with a removable bottom.
9. Dust both sides of the larger pieces of dough and roll it between two large sheets of parchment paper. About halfway through rolling, peel away the parchment and re-dust both sides of the dough with flour, then continue to roll the dough until it’s the size that will fit into the bottom of the tart pan and go up the sides. It may not always be necessary to use the paper (or clingfilm can be used too) but it is useful for getting a nice thin pastry if you struggle with stickyness.
10. Peel away the top piece of parchment and carefully overturn the dough on to the tart pan. Peel away the other piece of parchment and lift and sink your pastry into the tin. press lightly into the sides. Smooth the dough into place and even it out if necessary. mine wasnt sticky and worked fine but it doesnt always for everyone. Patching it up is often necessary and if you dont your filling might leak.
11. Spread the filling into the tart pan over the dough, then peel and thinly slice the apples, and lay them in an even layer over the Swiss chard filling.
13. Roll out the other disk of dough as you did the lower one, between two parchment paper sheets, and transfer it to the tart pan to cover the tart filling. You will be able to see yor apples but dont worry if not.
14. Use your fingers to seal the dough at the edges to enclose the filling. A few gaps are normal.
15. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar and slicing.