My friend Anne and I have, for years, co-hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving at my house, Christmas at hers. All are welcome, and everyone brings something, but the cast of characters changes each year. Every year Anne, a vegetarian, gamely bakes a Christmas ham; I usually luck out and go home with a week’s supply of ham or even a nice bone for soup – because what is she going to do with the leftovers?
This year, the guests were – all of them – passionate cooks – so everyone brought their assigned dish (salad, bread) and then whatever they thought would make a nice addition to the meal … plus a dessert.
There was one dessert per adult – and I don’t mean one slice of pie, I mean one full pie. It was a breathtaking display.
My diet started when the leftovers ran out, but it was so good that I have no regrets.
It has always struck me as rather unfair that the star of the meal – the ham – can’t be eaten by the hostess, and not only that, she’s so busy with everything that she can’t really make something special that she can eat. So I try to make it up to her by making some special side dish – one that could take center stage.
This year, I succeeded. I found this recipe for Chard, Raisin, and Pine Nut Tart when I was hunting for my lost caramels recipe, and when I read it, could not understand why I hadn’t made it before. The most difficult part – the crust – you can easily cheat by using a store bought; I used a frozen sheet puff-pastry and it was wonderful and flaky.
The filling is a superb, moist mix of savory chard and plump, sweet raisins, with the pine nuts adding a nice texture. It all plays nicely against the flaky crust.
The recipe originates in France, where it sometimes served as a dessert, dusted with powdered sugar. I don’t see it as being a great dessert, but it doesn’t need to be a side dish – with a side of spinach salad, it would make a fabulous alternative to quiche for a light lunch. In fact, it did make a nice lunch the day after Christmas.
One final note: the raisins are plumped with water, and but soaking them in wine or perhaps some cointreau could add another level of flavor and sophistication to the tart.
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 cup water
- 1½ pounds chard, stems and center ribs discarded
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- Pastry dough for a double-crust pie
- Bring raisins and water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain in a colander, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
- Blanch chard in a large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain chard in a colander, then squeeze out excess water by handfuls. Coarsely chop chard.
- Whisk together egg, cream, granulated sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in pine nuts, raisins, and chard until combined.
- Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin and fit into 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (do not trim edges). Chill shell while rolling out top.
- Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin. Spread chard filling evenly into shell, then top with second rectangle of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll over edges of pan to seal tart and trim edges, discarding scraps. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife, then put tart in pan on a baking sheet. Bake until top is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then remove side of pan. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
This is my contribution to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Why not swing by and see what other savory surprises await?
Toby @ Plate Fodder says
Heh, This looks wonderful.. except, you know.. for the chard.
I came across very close to the same recipe over the holidays but used broccoli greens and more eggs for it instead. We were vegetable pie piggys, I think we finished it off in a day.
J. Doe says
The chard was delicious! The whole thing is very mellow and slightly sweet. But I could totally dig a vegetable pie. Because, yum.
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate says
Such an intriguing tart! I will definitely keep this recipe in mind for the future because I would love to try it. Thanks for sharing.
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate
Beth F says
Oh this sounds heavenly. Just my kind of recipe. I love greens.
Diane (bookchickdi) says
The tart looks delightful and what a wonderful idea having everyone bring a dessert.
What a beautiful tart. I wish I could have a slice!
Janel Gradowski says
This sounds so good my stomach is growling! I love raisins with greens. And pie…I can’t resist any kind of pie, LOL!
J. Doe says
Can anyone resist pie? If so, why?
It sounds and looks great. I bet your hostess was thrilled to see you bring something so delicious and suitable for her.
Nice thing to bring! While I am not a chard lover, the photo reminds me of a mince pie and I sure love that. I like your writing style, glad to have discovered you!
J. Doe says
Thank you so much! I’m glad you stopped by.
Heather @girlichef says
This tart sounds amazing! I love the chard/raisin/pinenut combo…and I think I would even prefer it over a Christmas ham (though I do enjoy a good ham). Lovely! I may just crave this enough to give it a try sometime soon. 🙂
i’m so glad you posted this because i ate the hell out of something similar when i was in France last September. in France it’s called “Tourte aux blettes” and originates from the Nice region in the south. the powdered sugar ones aren’t my thing either, so i always went for the savory ones. most bakeries in that area sell it so no need to make it; but alas we don’t have that luxury in the US. thanks for posting this – i’ll be making it very soon.
J. Doe says
Oh, please post it when you make it! I’d love to know how it compares to the original and what other varieties there are.