The savory tarts of the Mediterranean are my inspiration for this Rustic Chard Tart – a slice of which makes a great brunch, lunch or dinner. Thanks go out to Tamara, who grew (and picked and delivered!) the beautiful rainbow chard, and Jennifer Millar and Nick Malgieri, chefs I had the pleasure of assisting at Draeger’s cooking school back in the 90’s, when I first learned about savory tarts; this one is a combination of Jennifer’s filling and Nick’s beautiful Italian Egg Pastry, that I made with spelt flour from Wheat Montana. I love this pastry because it provides a thin, shell of a crust with no butter – quite in contrast to most tart doughs. Here’s how it looks after rolling it out and before filling the pan:
- 1 teaspoon active, dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
- 2/3 cup spelt flour
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. chard leaves, cleaned and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb. ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup pinenuts, lightly toasted
- 1/3 cup currants, plumped in warm water
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- a sprinkling of salt and pepper
- Sprinkle yeast over the lukewarm water in a mixing bowl and let stand until yeast is dissolved. Mix in the egg, olive oil, salt and spelt flour. Scrape the dough onto a floured (spelt!) surface and knead for a couple minutes. Shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes before rolling.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chard and cook until wilted. Turn out into a bowl and add the pinenuts, currants (strained from the warm water, discard the water), ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool while you roll out the pastry.
- Get your rolling pin and roll out the pastry into a large, thin circle, approximately 14 inches in diameter. Dust the top with a bit of spelt flour and rollup onto your rolling pin, transfer over a 9 1/2 inch springform pan and gently guide the pastry down to line the bottom and sides, letting the extra pastry hang over the edge.
- Spread the filling into the pastry lined pan and fold the pastry over the top edges. Bake for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 375 and continue baking about 25 more minutes until filling is set. Let cool a bit before slicing. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
- Serve with a green salad dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.
- To warm up a chilled tart, cover with foil and heat in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes or so. Microwaving will do in a pinch, but it is not kind to pastry, so only do this as a last resort.