Chard Tart (Pastel de Acelga)
Recipe and photo contributed by Morena Escardó
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
"Pastel de acelga comes from the Italian torta pasqualina, traditionally made with many layers of dough and chard. The Peruvian version is simpler, with just one layer of chard and spinach filling. Here I have added collard greens to the recipe, as I'm always looking for new ways to include them in my diet. You can choose to use any mix of chard, collards, spinach, or kale, depending on your taste and on what’s available in your area. The original recipe is made with soaked bread instead of quinoa or amaranth, but I like using these Peruvian superfoods instead, to increase the nutritional value of this meal. Allow 30 minutes for the dough to chill."--Morena Escardó
1½ sticks (¾ cup/171 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 cups (240 grams) sprouted whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons (11.6 grams) salt, divided
6 tablespoons cold water
4 cups chopped chard
4 cups chopped collard greens
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 eggs, divided
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 limes or lemons, cut in wedges
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan set over very low heat, stirring until it melts.
- Mix the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add the butter and mix well with a fork, and then with your hands. Add the water, and keep kneading until you get a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is in the fridge, get everything ready for the tart. Pour the quinoa or amaranth into a small pan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (for the quinoa) or 30 minutes (for the amaranth). If it dries up before it’s cooked, add more water. If there’s water left in the pan when it’s ready, drain in a colander.
- While the quinoa or amaranth is cooking, bring a pan of water to a boil, add the chard and collard greens, and cook very quickly (about 1 minute for the chard, and 3 minutes for the collards). Transfer to a large colander, press with a wooden spoon or spatula to remove all the excess water, and set aside. You should have 2 cups of cooked greens in total. If you don’t have enough, cook some more (you can use kale or spinach too).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a pan set over medium heat and cook, stirring and shaking the pan, the onion and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the cooked greens, quinoa or amaranth, 2 eggs, the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper to the bowl, and mix well.
- Flour a clean work surface, and roll ⅔ of the dough, forming a rectangle big enough to cover the bottom and all four sides of a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Grease and butter the pan, and place the dough rectangle into it, pressing with your fingers so it sticks to all the sides of the pan.
- Fill the dough with the vegetable mixture, but save ¼ cup. With a spoon, make 3 “dents” on the surface of the vegetable mixture, and crack an egg into each one. Top them with the extra filling.
- Roll out the rest of the dough, and cover the tart with it. Press the sides of the top layer of dough against the sides of the bottom layer of dough, to seal the tart.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold, with lime or lemon slices on the side. The tart will keep, covered with foil, in fridge for up to 3 days.
- You can make the dough up to a month in advance and freeze it. You can also refrigerate it for up to three days. In both cases, leave it out to soften for at least half an hour (or one hour if frozen) before using.
- This tart can easily become gluten-free if you use your favorite gluten-free pie crust instead.