From My Blogroll
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I was hoping that this would turn out edible at least, and it's actually pretty good. I wanted a different way to cook leafy greens, and this works unexpectedly well. The original recipe claims that this can be paired with a salad for a light dinner, but I think it's a bit too sweet to stand on its own (or with a simple salad) for dinner, even without the confectioners sugar on top. It could even be served for dessert, as weird as it might sound to serve a chard dish for dessert. I had a small salad, roasted asparagus, and a bit of chicken with mine, and that was fine. I could also see this working well with a bulgur or wheatberry pilaf. Warning: this is not a quick weeknight dinner, unless you have prepared the filling (which can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered) and pastry dough ahead of time. I underestimated the amount of time it would take, and ended up eating at 9:30pm. Whoops.
Chard, Raisin, and Pine Nut Tart
Serves 8 as a side or light main dish.
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
2 pounds Swiss chard, stems and center ribs discarded
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Pastry dough for a double-crust pie (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar (optional)
Bring raisins and water to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan, then remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain, then pat dry with towels. Place rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400F.
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 tongs or a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain chard, then squeeze out excess water by handfuls. Coarsely chop chard (I forgot this step and it was fine)
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.
Note: the original recipe calls for using an 11x15" tart pan with a removable bottom, but since I don't have such a thing, I made it more free-form. I'll post both ways here.
Using a pan: Roll out half of the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a rectangle slightly larger than 15x11", and fit into tart pan (do not trim edges). Chill shell while rolling out top. Roll out second piece of dough to a similar size. Spread chard filling evenly into shell, then top with second rectangle of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll over edges of tart pan to seal tart, and trim edges, discarding scraps. Put tart in pan on a baking sheet and proceed from brushing with egg to end of recipe.
Free-form: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil) and lay first crust on the parchment. Mound filling on pastry, leaving a 2-inch border on each side. Carefully fold pastry borders over filling. Brush folded-over edges with beaten egg (to help top crust adhere). Roll out second crust and place on top of tart, pressing carefully to folded-up sides of bottom crust to adhere.
Brush top of tart with beaten egg. Cut three steam vents in top of crust with a sharp knife and bake until top is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature and, if desired, dust with confectioners sugar.
Okay, now for the pastry dough. I wrote up this pie dough in my recent apple pie post, but I didn't quite follow directions properly when I made that pie, so it didn't come out as well as the recipe made it sound like it would. Today, however, I followed the directions extra carefully, and the result was the most tender, flaky, downright perfect pie crust that's ever come out of my kitchen. It was also the easiest pie dough I've ever worked with: no tearing, no cracking, just as smooth and pleasant as can be. It was like rolling out sugar cookie dough. Crucial to this result is the incorporation of the flour into the fat in two steps. Without this two-step process, you won't get the even distribution that gives you such a wonderful dough.
Now, I've put up the original recipe quantities here. I made the crust as it's written below, as I made a half batch of the tart (yes, I halved the egg--not easy, but it came out fine). You might have to make a 1.5 or even double batch if you're making a full 11x15" tart.
For one 9-inch double-crust pie
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.