Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Swiss Chard Custard Tart with Yeast Crust

As I enthusiastically declared last week, I love savory tarts. This one is really different, as it is make with a yeast dough, sort of like a more elegant deep dish pizza. The dough can be made in advance, and puffs up to form a soft, golden crust. It is filled with healthy sautéed swiss chard leaves that are baked in a light custard flavored with lemon, saffron and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I came across this recipe on The Wednesday Chef, a great blog full of recipes that constantly appeal to my taste. It is by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Deborah Madison from her The Greens Cookbook, and came via the Los Angeles Times food writer, Russ Parsons who printed it in an article back in December. I love the tart recipes in Madison’s book, Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, which I reviewed here, so I was sure that this one would be great too.

As I poured the liquid custard mixed with tons of sautéed chard into the shell, I wondered how something so wet could possibly firm up into an attractive tart. But Madison’s recipes have always worked for me, so I should not have worried. After just over 30 minutes in the oven, the crust was crisp and golden and the chard was suspended in the tender, just-set custard. I love hearty greens, and the eggs, pine nuts and soft dough make them taste rich. I really loved having the leftover slices for lunch on the days that followed. You can eat this tart with your morning coffee or a glass of wine; it is delicious around the clock.

Swiss Chard Custard Tart with Yeast Crust
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef and the Los Angeles Times; originally by Deborah Madison published in her Greens cookbook.
I doubled the recipe for the tart dough and put half in the freezer after letting it rise and kneading a few times. Now I can pull it out and make another one soon!

Makes one 9-11 inch tart

For Dough:
1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 package)
¼ c. warm water
pinch sugar
1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
½ tsp. salt
1 egg
3 tbs. light sour cream

Proof the yeast by gently mixing with the water and sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the flour and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the egg, sour cream and proofed yeast mixture to the flour and process until the dough comes together into a ball, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. If the dough is very sticky or does not form a ball, add more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is soft and smooth enough to handle. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead several times. You can roll out the dough and shape into your tart pan right now or lightly cover the dough with platic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours. Bring the dough to room temperature before shaping.

Coat a 9 to 11 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Flatten the dough into a large disk and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Drape over your rolling pin and lay the dough into the tart pan. Fit the dough into the sides of the pan. The edge of the dough should come about ¼ inch over the rim of the tart pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Put the tart pan on a large baking sheet, fill with swiss chard mixture and bake as directed.

For Swiss Chard:
1 tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large or 3 small bunches swiss chard (about 8 c.), spines removed and leaves roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ tsp. coarse salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
1 ½ c. milk (I use 2%)
Large pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbs. hot water
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
3 tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch nutmeg
3 tbs. pine nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chard, in bunches if necessary, and fold it in the skillet until it begins to wilt and cook down, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ½ tsp. of the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the milk, saffron and water mixture, lemon zest, Parmigiano, nutmeg, the remaining salt and some pepper. Fold the chard into the egg mixture and pour into the tart shell (put your tart pan on a baking sheet to make it easier to handle). Scatter the pine nuts over the tart and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is no longer liquid. Serve hot or at room temperature. The leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven.

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MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I have had this in my book of recipes to try for just forever.
Yours looks really wonderful.

Carolyn said...

I made this recipe after seeing it on The Wednesday Chef, too. The pine nuts on top make it such a pretty dish!

Kristen said...

I've never seen anything quite like that. It looks delicious.

Luisa said...

I'm glad to hear that the tart worked out for you as well. It's such a good recipe! And it's so nice to know one can trust Russ' taste implicitly.

Garrett said...

Ooh, I love chard! I always wilt with lemon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. YUM!

Peabody said...

Oh I will have to make this the next time my hubby goes out of town...I always eat veggie when he leaves since he wont eat it when he is here.