A dessert tart with a band of deep dark green? This tourte de blettes recipe had me intrigued but unsure with its combination of savory and sweet: Swiss chard, olive oil, and parmesan, along with sugar, apples, cinnamon, brandied golden raisins, and a sweet crust. When I bit into it, though, I realized that it’s a fully worthy dessert. You can taste a hint of chard and parmesan along with the cinnamon and apple, but I couldn’t notice the olive oil at all even with 100% extra virgin oil.
David Lebovitz is right when he says that “it sounds odder than it tastes, and folks make sweet desserts with vegetables all the time, such as Carrot Cake and Sweet Potato Pie, so it’s really not that much of a stretch, my friends.” So add Swiss chard to the list of dessert-friendly veggies along with the carrots and sweet potato. And add David Lebovitz’s blog to your list: he’s reliable and entertaining and I always learn from him.
This time I learned how to make a proper tart crust. Through no fault of his it took me two tries to read the directions carefully and get the crust right. My first try wasn’t bad, I just didn’t add the optional milk and it needed a little more liquid to stick together properly. As directed, I rolled out the crust between two pieces of parchment paper, but I didn’t notice that I was supposed to peel off the parchment paper halfway through the roll-out process, rub the crust with flour, and then roll some more. When I did that on the second try the crust practically fell off the parchment paper and laid into the pan perfectly, with proper sides even!
This recipe takes a lot of chard, it cooks down drastically like all greens. For my first tart I used a super-huge farmer’s market head of chard that was about two pounds as specified, resulting in one and a half pounds of cleaned, stemmed, and de-ribbed chard. On the second try I used two smaller heads of chard which only yielded a pound of cleaned chard: not a deal-killer but you might want to weigh the chard when you buy it. Even though I used baking apples and sliced them thinly they never really got soft. Next time I’ll try cooking the tart a little longer, and if that doesn’t soften the apples I may pre-cook them a little in a future version.
I cut down the sugar in the filling by about half, that’s SOP for my family and they thought it was as sweet as they wanted. I liked the brandied golden raisins and toasted pine nuts and will definitely keep them in any future versions of this that I may create.