La Tourte De Blettes translates to Swiss Chard Pie. But don't let that fool you. This can be served as a sweet dessert or the main course for a light supper.
Here’s a savory sweet pastry from southern France. I made this from a recipe card I picked up in the market in St. Remy last summer. Although there was an English translation, it wasn’t that good and so I had to figure out a few things, including the conversion of some measurements from grams to ounces.
I also used a 10-inch round springform pan instead of an 11 x 8 x 1 inch tart pan (who has one of those?) and so there was leftover dough to make a few apple turnovers.
Although the mixture of ingredients may sound strange — mixing swiss chard with raisins and parmesan cheese — they work well together to create a dish that can be served as a main course with a salad or as a dessert. It’s a sweet and savory tried-and-true classic that has been enjoyed in Provence for many generations.
The torte before the top layer of dough was put on.
Ingredients for the pastry dough:
- Flour (About 4 1/2 cups)
- Eggs (2 large)
- Sugar (2/3 cup)
- Butter (2 sticks or 8 oz. of softened butter)
- Salt (just a pinch)
- Water (About 1/2 cup or a little more; just enough to make the dough)
Ingredients for the filling:
- Swiss chard (1 bunch or about a dozen large leaves)
- Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup, grated)
- Brown Sugar (3/4 cup)
- Golden Raisins (4 oz., I used regular dark raisins but the recipe calls for light golden ones)
- Marc or Grappa (Just enough to cover the raisins to marinate them.)
- Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
- Pine nuts (4 oz.)
- Eggs (2 large)
- Apples (about 1-2 large, peeled and sliced)
- Powered sugar (just enough to dust the torte after it’s cooked).
I used the leftover dough from the tart to make a couple of apple turnovers. See recipe below.
What I did:
Combine all of the ingredients for the pastry dough in a small bowl, adding the water a little bit at a time at the end until most of the flour and ingredients are absorbed and a good ball of dough is formed.
Turn out the ball of dough onto a floured board and knead several times until the ingredients are mixed well and a smooth dough is formed. Form a ball with the dough, put it back in the bowl, cover with a towel and put in a cool place (the refrigerator is a good spot). Let rest about an hour.
Soak the raisins in either Marc or Grappa in a small bowl. Let rest about an hour.
Wash the swiss chard and strip it from its stem (you can throw out the stems or save for another day). An easy way to do this is to make your hand like a cat’s claw and drag the stem between your forefinger and middle finger. Boil swiss chard in a covered pot for just a few minutes. Take it out. Drain well and chop it. Place it in a bowl.
Drain the raisins and add to the bowl with the swiss chard. Add all other filling ingredients, except for the apples and powdered sugar, and mix well.
Butter your tart tin or springform pan.
Cut pastry dough into two equal pieces. Roll out one of the pieces on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it’s flat (about 1/4 inch thick). Cut dough to fit your tart tin or springform pan with some dough coming up the sides. Press the bottom and sides of the pan with the dough.
Add the filling. Top with the peeled and sliced apples.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough. Place it ontop being careful to seal the ends by pinching it all around. Take a fork and prick the top so that steam can escape while it cooks.
Place in a 350 oven until golden. This took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check it from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Cool on a rack. Dust with powdered sugar.
Makes a good light supper with a salad or serve after dinner as a fine dessert.
(APPLE TURNOVER BONUS: If you have left over dough, simply roll it out. On one half, add peeled and sliced apples with some brown sugar, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a slice of butter. Roll over other half of dough to cover apples. Seal edges. Brush with cream or milk. Prick with fork to create several steam holes and cook in a 350 oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Makes a nice after-school or after-work snack).
Other recipes from our trip to southern France include:
Find more recipes in the Food section.