Swiss chard is one of the more healthy vegetables. Swiss chard in an apple pie-type dessert? Does it sound peculiar? It’s actually quite a popular dessert in France in the pie-form called Tourte de Blettes (Swiss Chard Tart), but (and here comes one of Cleo’s Confessions …) I’m not particularly fond of pie — at least the pies that have a top and bottom crust — so I decided to re-invent this classic favourite.
Crostatas are lovely desserts. Why? Because they’re EASY. And I’m all about easy. And you don’t have to be so finicky as you do with pie crusts; it’s really difficult to mess up the crust of a crostata.
If you’re nervous about having Swiss chard in a dessert, don’t be. The apple flavour bursts through while the chard adds body with some lovely warm undertones in taste. Healthy and delicious, all in one dessert!
Normally there’s a crumble on the top of a crostata that’s made with basically flour and sugar but I chose to keep this one clean. Less calories and more healthy ingredients means that you can add a small scoop of ice cream and not feel guilty at all.
If you like this dessert, you might want to try our Apple Quince Harvest Crisp, another mouth-watering creation. Out of season, try substituting pears for the quince. It’s really quite delicious!
Apple and Swiss Chard Crostata
A flavourful dessert that blends in health with sweetness!
- 2 cups spelt flour (or all-purpose flour; see note)
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1/4 cup cane sugar (or white sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1/4 cup ice water, approximately
- 1 1/2 pounds apples, such as MacIntosh or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
- 6-7 large leaves of Swiss chard, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 cup arrowroot (you could also use all-purpose flour)
- 2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a food processor fitted with a blade, add the flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into tablespoon chunks and add. Pulse 10 - 15 times until butter is incorporated.
With machine running, slowly add water until you get the correct consistency. It will look like it's not holding together but if you reach in and squeeze a handful, it should easily form a ball.
Form the mixture into a ball, wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. The crust can be prepared the night before.
Filling and Assembly
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Place the apple chunks and Swiss chard into a large bowl. Add orange or lemon zest and toss.
Add sugar, cinnamon, and arrowroot powder and toss. Add raisins and pine nuts and toss. Add vanilla and sea salt and toss.
Roll out the dough into about a 14 inch round. I used about 3/4 of the dough but it will depend on the thickness you want. (I used a large bowl to put over the dough and cut a 14" diameter circle but it's not necessary and you'll get a more rustic look.)
Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Save the remaining dough (or let the kids make a mini crostata, filled with blueberries or some other scrumptious filling).
Put the apple/Swiss chard filling onto the dough, leaving 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the dough inwards over the apple mixture, tucking where necessary to continue in a circle.
Dot the top of the crostata with small pieces of butter.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let cool and serve.
Food for Thought: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton