Savory Rainbow Chard Tart

August 9th, 2010

Sunday afternoons will usually find me in the kitchen trying new recipes and taking my time with my cooking.  This puts me in mind of the Slow Food Movement.  Part of their philosophy is to take your time and savor your food, know where it comes from, and keep it as authentic as possible.

This Sunday I made this beautiful Swiss chard tart from a recipe from Laura Calder, the host of French Food at Home on the new Cooking Channel. I love her show. I love her quiet and serene approach to everything she cooks. The episode in which she made the tart had to do with Grandmothers’ recipes; those tried and true recipes that are handed down through the generations on yellowed and dog-eared pages in old notebooks.

The tart was made in a springform pan instead of a pie pan so it had a very rustic appearance with high crusty sides and a deep filling.  It appealed to me on so many levels.  I loved the vibrant color of the rainbow chard stems and leaves, the custardy filling and the sprinkling of dried cranberries and almonds.

The one thing Laura Calder did not give on the program was a recipe for a pie crust, so I had to come up with that on my own.  I made an all butter pastry and increased the preportions by one half to fill the springform pan.  It would have been easier to mix the pastry in the food processor but I don’t always like the results.  I think the blade action heats the butter too much and the whole point to making good pastry is to keep the butter cold.  So I slowly worked my butter into my flour by cutting it in with a knife.  This was a satisfying task for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  According to the Slow Food Manifesto,  “A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life”.  I choose to slow down and enjoy what I am doing, especially when the end results are so satisfying.


For the Pastry:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice water  (a little more if needed)

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes.  Add to the flour mixture and with a pastry blender or knife, cut the butter into the flour until it is in small crumbs.  Add the ice water and stir in with a fork until pastry comes together.  If dry, add a little more water.  Bring pastry together with your hands and form into a flattened disc.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Flour a work surface, and remove pastry from the plastic and roll it out into a 14″ circle.  Put pastry into a 9″ springform pan.  Return to refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour to firm up butter.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line pastry with parchment paper and fill the springform pan with dried beans.  Put springform pan on a sheet pan and blind bake the pastry for approximately 15 minutes. The butter in the pastry will leak from the springform pan a little so it is a good idea to have it on a sheet pan so as not to drip in your oven.  Carefully remove beans and parchment paper and continue to bake pastry shell for 10 more minutes or until lightly browned.  Set aside while you make the filling.

1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices thick bacon, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds Swiss Chard, preferably Rainbow Chard
3 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream and sour cream combined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Handful of dried cranberries
Handful of toasted almonds or pine nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a saute pan and fry the shallots until soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Remove to a plate.  In the same pan, fry the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp.  Remove to the plate with the shallots.  Divide the chard leaves from the ribs; chop the ribs quite small and shred the leaves.  First, fry the ribs in the bacon fat until tender. (Cook’s Note:  You may want to cover the pan for a few minutes to speed up the process.)  Add the chard leaves to the pan, cover and wilt, about 3 minutes.

Beat the eggs together with the creme fraiche, and season with salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the shallots, bacon, chard stems and leaves, cheese, cranberries, and nuts, to combine evenly.  Fill the tart shell with the vegetable mixture with a slotted spoon so that any liquid will be left behind.  Pour over the cream mixture.  Bake tart on a sheet pan until the tart has set, about 30 minutes.

I am linking this post to the Two for Tuesdays blog hop.  You will find many blogs there with recipes and thoughts on cooking with authentic ingredients.

21 responses to “Savory Rainbow Chard Tart”

  1. Big Dude says:

    Wow, this looks super. I usually grow the rainbow chard and now I have a new use for it.

  2. Sage says:

    Great recipe! I tape Laura Calder of French Food at Home everyday; so I can enjoy her with a cup of tea. Her quiet serene style of the show make it one of my favourites. Also interested in The Slow Food Movement. It there a special site you follow? I’ve been wanting to ask you if that is your kitchen on your header.
    Have a nice week.

  3. Oh Penny! That looks wonderful. I bet it tastes devine. I don’t know Laura Calder…I am going to check her out.

  4. canoetieu says:

    Nicely said, Penny. And the tart looks fab. Confession: I don’t know what i’d do without my food processor for pastry. For me it comes out ‘perfect’ (almost) every time.
    By the way, I’ve been printing out some of your seasonal vegetable recipes (with proper credits) for the Co-op recipe rack. So, thank you.
    I read everything and am glad to see you ‘preaching’ a little more about local food, even if it is to the choir.


  5. Pondside says:

    I’m going to have to look up Laura Calder, if this is typical of her sort of recipe. It looks delicious and like something everyone here would enjoy.

  6. This is so typical of the kind of dishe my grandmothers made and that I just love! Thanks for the heads up on Laura Calder!
    xoxo Pattie

  7. This literally has me panting to get to Saturday’s farmers’ market for rainbow chard! It is beautiful and looks delicious. I’ve used the rainbow chard in stir fries and soups and am thrilled to find another wonderful use for the tasty leaf.


  8. The minute I saw the tart I knew you had seen French Food at Home! This looks wonderful, very impressed!!!

  9. Your tart looks divine, but I am not familiar with Laura Calder. I have never eaten Swiss Chard either. I will have to give it a try. It sure looks as pretty as I’m sure it is tasty. Love & blessings from NC!

  10. What a lovely tart Penny. I like Laura Calder too. Have you noticed that she doesn’t talk every minute during her show? And I love the music also. Some of the hosts of other cooking shows seem to think they have to talk every minute; they could learn from Laura.

    I just got her cookbook and it’s delightful. No pictures but lots of great recipes.

  11. Terry says:

    Now that looks WONDERFUL!!! I have never made a tart….

    I am a new follower, hope you stop by my blog and follow me back

    I am following you from Tuesday Recipe Blog Hop, My Journey With Candida
    My entry this week is Make Your Own Nut Butters

  12. What great timing! I received some plug plants of Rainbow Swiss Chard for my vegetable garden and was just thinking – oh well, at least it looks pretty because I sure don’t know what to cook with it! Problem solved – your recipe looks delicious!

  13. girlichef says:

    Penny. Oh My Gosh. This is perhaps THE most gorgeous tart I’ve ever laid eyes on. True rustic beauty always gets me…plus, it sounds so delicious. I think making this is the perfect way to spend a SLOW Sunday afternoon…and eating it the perfect way to spend the evening that follows. Beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing this with Two for Tuesdays this week! 🙂

  14. I saw this episode of French Cooking at Home. I am always inspired to head to the kitchen.

  15. Penny, I am SO with you on the slow and traditional way of doing things! So much so in fact that I havent had a food processor in YEARS! This recipe satisfied me just looking at it! I am totally making it and sharing it as one of my highlights on my Thoughts on friday link love post! WHOOO HOOO~~~~~ Thanks for linking up to the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 Alex@amoderatelife

  16. Christy says:

    I struggle to slow down and cook – I want it all done NOW – but this tart looks so amazing I can tell it was worth the time! Thanks for linking this beautiful tart to Two for Tuesdays!

  17. Toni says:

    I adore chard tart! And I had to laugh when I saw your photo of one made in a spring form pan – I’ve done that too!

    I’m such a fan of the Slow Food Movement… It’s such a beautiful antidote to the insanity of our times.

  18. How pretty!! This is something that I would so love to make! Talk about good real food, thanks!

  19. That is one gorgeous looking tart. I am a big Laura Calder fan, and having only just this year discovered rainbow chard I am a big fan of that too. I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe to try. Thanks.

  20. Karen says:

    Beautiful and so colorful. Love the high sides on this tart!

  21. FOODalogue says:

    This is a thing of beauty! I especially love the high sides…more pastry! 🙂

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