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Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust – Tarte aux Blettes

I think most people would see “Swiss Chard Tart” on a dessert menu and pass it over for the Chocolate Snowball. That’s why the menu said Tarte aux Blettes–Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust. This sweet Swiss chard tart with a cookie crust is one special dessert.

Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust | Letty's Kitchen

In Nice, in France, when I was in culinary school way back in 1986, for professional curiosity I ordered Tarte aux Blettes. What a treat–eating your greens for dessert.

Not long after, I tried making the tart from a recipe in the old cookbook. I didn’t like how that recipe came out. Nevertheless, anytime I see another version of this Swiss chard tart, I’m tempted to try again. A Google search shows plenty of recipes for Tarte aux Blettes out there, including translations from Boulud and Payard.

David Lebovitz posted his rendition of Tarte aux Blettes last year. He wrote of his almost fruitless search for more chard in Paris, after he’d decided he needed more to complete the recipe. (Two pounds of chard for each tart is a lot, much more than one bunch, making this tart most appropriate when gardens are overflowing with tender chard.)

cooked chard for Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust | Letty's Kitchen

So, when I was asked to prepare dessert for Utah’s Slow Food Feast of the Five Senses dinner, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to perfect the recipe. My audience would be captive, meaning they couldn’t choose rich chocolate cake instead–there was no choice–everyone got my dessert. The fundraiser gala was mid-September, when gardens in our high altitudes are peaking; I was able to beg 22 pounds of sweet fresh-picked chard, enough for many tarts.

The filling was young and tender chard from John at Ranui Gardens, and rainbow chard with colorful stems from Daisy at Copper Moose Farm. Both are Wasatch back CSA farmers. I took David’s recipe and made it mine, with a sweet sugar cookie crust, and fresh pears instead of apples. I skipped the Parmesan cheese in David’s recipe.

Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust | Letty's Kitchen

I served the tart with candied red chard stems and Moscato-poached Utah pears, both roasted to intensify their flavors. A scoop of refreshing crème fraîche sherbet finished the plate. People still express their delight over the dessert surprise–that Tarte aux Blettes–Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust.

You’ll want a 9-inch fluted pan with a removable bottom for this tart.

Wishing you a fabulous weekend–get in the kitchen and cook something full of veggies!

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Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust | Letty's Kitchen
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Tarte aux Blettes–Sweet Swiss Chard Tart with a Cookie Crust
This tart, and it's surprise filling, is absolutely, mind-blowing incredible. I'm not denying it's quite a bit of work. If you are an experienced baker--go for it--you will be rewarded with deliciousness.
Ingredients
  • For the sugar cookie crust:
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • For the filling:
  • ¼ cup poire william sweet pear liqueur
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard , well washed, stems and veins removed, red and yellow stems reserved (you will end up with about 1 ½ pounds of leaves after stripping away the veins and stems)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ Bartlett pears , peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour or starch
  • Confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Make the crust:
  2. Stir the flour and the sugar together in a medium bowl. Dice the butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolk and the cream. Sprinkle over the dough, stirring with a fork. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together, and divide in two portions, one a tiny bit larger than the other. Gently form each portion into a flattened 4-inch ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  4. Make the filling:
  5. Put the raisins and pear liqueur in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside until the raisins are plump with the liqueur.
  6. Put the chard leaves in a saucepan or skillet with about ¼ cup of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook the leaves until they are completely wilted and have shrunk incredibly. Drain the leaves and immediately run them under cold water to help keep the bright green color. When they are cool, squeeze as much water as you are able from the leaves.
  7. Chop the cooked chard and put into a bowl. Drain any liqueur from the raisins and add them to the chard. Sip the pear brandy while you continue making the tart. 😉
  8. Chop the pine nuts coarsely and add them to the chard, along with the cinnamon, sugar and eggs. Mix well; set aside while you roll the crust.
  9. Roll the crust and assemble and bake the tart:
  10. The dough it must be worked by hand first or it will be too crumbly: Cut each portion of the cold dough into 1/2 cup portions and smear the pieces quickly with the palm of your hand–the motion is similar to kneading but more gentle.
  11. Brush melted butter on the sides and bottom of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, or spray with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger portion of dough into a 12-inch circle, 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Use short coaxing strokes of the rolling pin and lift and turn the circle frequently, as often as every other roll of the pin. Use as little flour as possible, but dust the work surface and the rolling pin as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer to the prepared pan by rolling the dough up onto the rolling pin and laying it over the pan. Ease the dough into the corners of the pan. Patch any tears by pressing the dough together with your fingers. Trim the edges, leaving one inch of the dough standing up above the sides of the pan.
  12. Roll the remaining dough for the top crust. Make it a circle, 1/8-inch thick, a little wider than the pan. Set aside.
  13. Spread the chard filling into the tart shell. Toss the pear slices with the tapioca flour. Arrange them evenly over the filling.
  14. Fold the extended inch of pastry over the filling and pears. Brush this edge with water so the top crust will seal to it. Lay the top crust on top of the filling. Use your fingers to pinch off the excess dough and seal it the top to the bottom.
  15. Cut 6 slits in the crust to allow steam to escape. Place on a large baking sheet and bake 40 to 60 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown. Some of the filling may leak; this is typical. Cool at least one hour.
  16. Remove the fluted pan rim and bottom; you may need to slip a flat knife between the pastry and the pan bottom to release it. Center a 7-inch plate or a cardboard circle on top of the tart as a stencil and sift confectioners’ sugar over the exposed border. Serve at room temperature.

9 comments

  • Thank you so much for posting the recipe Letty! I loved the dessert when you made it for the Feast of 5 Senses for Slow Food. I am going to share the recipe with…my cooking class at the Indian Family Services and my office. I highly recommend this dessert to anyone who hasn’t tried it!!! Reply · 7 November, 2011

  • That’s an amazing looking dessert. Unlike others, I started to read when I saw chard in the title but I’ve never seen it sweet. Great job. Reply · 6 December, 2011

  • Thanks Tammy. You must try making it when you are swimming in chard–it is a true surprise that works–not weird at all. I served it to my in-laws and offered a prize if one could guess what was in the tart. They were happy to enjoy their treat and didn’t get close to the answer. Reply · 6 December, 2011

  • ramona

    I was at the feast in September and this was by far my favorite course of the evening (and I am not a big dessert eater). My fiance and I still talk about this fabulous tart and how it was so perfectly done. I have been meaning to try it out at home; I found the recipe from David Lebovitz and a few others, but I am just thrilled that I came across the actual recipe that was used for the feast. This is my weekend project for sure. Thank you very much for posting it. Reply · 13 January, 2012

    • So glad you enjoyed the dessert and have fun re-creating it at home–make sure you have the right amount of chard because it is one of the incredible shrinking greens! Reply · 13 January, 2012

  • hi,
    it sounds like you did not have enough weights to keep the dough from sliding down. Was the rolled crust super cold when you put it in the oven and were the beans or other pie weights in the parchment for the blind-bake all the way to the top of the pie pan? Reply · 13 January, 2012

  • […] Whenever chard shows up in our Ranui Gardens CSA box, I’m a happy cook and recipe writer. That’s because I love chard’s adaptable nature. You can fill veggie enchiladas and empanadas with chard—and you can bake tender chard into a sweet dessert tart–recipe here. […] Reply · 26 July, 2014

  • D Marshall

    …….trying this with minor substitutions; fresh figs instead of pears, pecans instead of pine nuts, green seedless grapes soaked in Cointreaux liqueur instead of raisins in pear liqueur — gotta go with what I have in the cupboard/freezer.
    ……just trying to make swiss chard a bit more enticing for the family. Reply · 18 August, 2017

    • Wow–your variations sound incredible. Your family will love this tart! Reply · 24 August, 2017

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