Rainbow Chard, Raisin & Toasted Almond Pie
Aesthetically, it doesn’t get much better than glancing at the chard patch. At Stonecrop Garden, we grow the rainbow variety so we can enjoy the beauty of a vibrant crop... and that’s mainly because neither of us are incredibly fond of the flavor. I can sense you wagging your finger at me from here. Why bother growing something that we don’t love?! Well, while we don’t love it, we do enjoy it as a filler green when kale is running out or the spinach bolts. After trying out the recipe below, that feeling has changed! No longer will I allow chard to be delegated to the role of “filler green.” Quite frankly, it doesn’t deserve that.
Before I dive into how insanely good the Rainbow chard pie is, I’d like to share another reason why we make sure to always grow it, year after year. It’s one of the easiest crops to grow for us, period. We start the seeds in trays in February or March, and after about three to four weeks they are usually ready to move into the field. I’ve worked at some farms that take the time to move the chard from their starter trays into larger pots so that the transplants are bigger, but we don’t do that (yet). Since they are often moved to the field while it’s still early spring and the potential for snow is quite high, we cover them with frost cloth to keep them extra happy. However, it is highly likely that they would be just fine without the cloth, and would just grow up a little slower. Typically we grow them in two rows about a foot apart from one another, though they could be grown with tighter spacing- and we will likely try that out next season.
Fast forward about a month (if covered with frost cloth) and the plants will be ready to harvest! Even though they historically haven’t been our favorite crop, it turns out that they do really well at market. Perhaps people are first drawn to their beauty, because they truly are one of the most gorgeous crops!
Enough about growing chard though. It’s time to get to the insanely delicious pie! It was just the right amount of sweet, had a delicious crunch from the toasted almonds, and the cream with a hint of orange zest all served as the perfect pairing with blanched chard. Seriously, I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this pie. While we ate a few slices each for a late lunch, we couldn’t help but talk about how good it would be for brunch with a nice hot coffee.... or even for dessert! I know, I can’t believe I even suggested that a pie with chard should be a dessert, but it really would work!
This recipe was originally supposed to be made with pine nuts, but our nearest grocery store doesn’t have them so we subbed them for toasted almonds. We also veered quite a bit from the original (since it wasn’t plant based) and made a different crust because I forgot to get yeast at the store! Everything we did is listed below, with original inspiration coming from: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/swiss-chard-raisin-and-pine-nut-tart-236407
and the official crust recipe I used was sourced from: https://www.thespruceeats.com/flaky-vegan-pie-crust-recipe-3377320
I’ve seen other iterations of this with prunes instead of raisins, or cranberries and lemon zest, or kale and spinach instead of chard. The possibilities are endless! Now I want to make a massive batch of pie dough so I can whip one of these up whenever I want.
Making this pie? Please leave a comment below and share what changes you made, or just share what you thought about it!
ACTIVE TIME 40 min
TOTAL TIME 4 1/4 hr
1/2 cup raisins (golden suggested, but we used regular)
1 cup water
2 pounds green Swiss chard, we trimmed the stems but the original suggest removing them completely)
1 large egg substitute- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer at 1 1/2 teaspoons of the powder mixed into 2 tablespoons of warm water and left to sit for 5 minutes
1/2 cup almond milk creamer
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/3 cup almonds (1 1/2 ounces), toasted
Pastry dough (recipe below)
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
Bring raisins and water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain in a colander, then pat dry with paper towels. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Blanch chard in a large pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain chard in a colander, then squeeze out excess water by handfuls. Coarsely chop chard.
Whisk together egg substitute, almond cream, granulated sugar, zest, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in almonds, raisins, and chard until combined.
Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 15- by 11-inch rectangle and fit into tart pan (do not trim edges). Chill shell while rolling out top.
Roll out smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into a 12- by 9-inch rectangle. Spread chard filling evenly into shell, then top with second rectangle of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll over edges of pan to seal tart and trim edges, discarding scraps. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife, then put tart in pan on a baking sheet. Bake until top is golden, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then remove side of pan. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour (this ended up taking me about 45 minutes, but I used a convection oven). Dust with confectioners sugar.
The Pastry Dough
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water (cold) (I ended up using closer to five to get the consistency I needed)
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl
Cut in the vegan butter (I did this in the food processor)
In a separate bowl mix together the oil and cold water
Add the flour and sugar mix, taking care to mix just until everything is incorporated.
Wrap it in saran wrap, or cover the bowl with foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. Don’t skip this step!
After the dough has chilled, divide it into two with one of the portions being a little larger than the other. Then head back up to the instructions above for rolling it out! While the top recipe used a spring baking pan, I used a glass pie dish (without greasing or flouring it) with great results.