I grew up eating savoury pies. Both my grandmothers were excellent pie makers- even my mom’s mom, the non-domestic goddess one, could make a mean cheese pie with her eyes closed. When most of my friends had some sort of roast meat on Sunday, we often had pie. Filled with salty cheese or fresh greens or a combination of both, all wrapped in homemade crust bursting with olive oil.
My favourite homemade pies and tarts feature this exact combination: seasonal greens and copious amounts of cheese. Last week, when I spotted swiss chard in the farmer’s market, my heart almost skipped a bit (fresh, seasonal produce always enthuses me. It keeps my love affair with food alive and kicking, a love affair which excites and alarms me, often in equal measures). Bring on summertime pie-making!
For this summery pie, swiss chard is king! Easy to handle, so flavoursome and pretty, it barely needs any additional bells and whistles- which is why I decided to use it in a tart, leaving the beautiful greens exposed.
Add a couple eggs, cream cheese and some shallots and you’re in business. Sprinkle with almond flakes and bake until golden brown and you ‘re the favourite kid at the party. Well, my party, at least.
I used store bought pastry, because summer makes me lazy and hungry and homemade pastry takes time- but it’s totally worth it. So don’t be like me, make your own. This recipe is super easy and always does the trick.
1 pack ready to roll shortcrust pastry
200 grams swiss chard
8 shallots, finely sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 pack cream cheese (200 grams)
1/4 cup almond flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180 C.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit a 25cm round pie dish. Carefully lift and place on a pie dish lined with parchment paper; trim the edges and roll inwards, to create a wavy pattern. Line with more parchment paper, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 20’. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake for an additional 5’. Take out of the oven and set aside, keeping the oven on.
In the meantime, wash the swiss chard and cut into 1 cm chunks, keeping the stems separated from the leaves.
Finely slice the shallots and mix with the cut stems.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the stems and shallots until softened. Add the greens and cook for another 5′, stirring to avoid sticking on the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs with cream cheese and add the swiss chard and shallots mixture.
Stir to combine, making sure to coat all the vegetables with the egg/cheese mixture. Season with sea salt and black pepper and stir in half of the flaked almonds.
Bake for 30’, or until golden brown. 5’ before the end of baking time, remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining almonds and put back for the remaining 5′.
Serve at room temperature.