I realized after I came up with this combo that I must've been thinking about AntoniaJames' French Country Soup, which I've made (and loved) many times. The main elements -- potatoes, chard, leeks, and bacon (AJ uses smoked pork) -- are all inspired by her super soul-satisfying soup. I snuck a little bacon fat into the crust as well to add a subtle smokiness.
Dough (makes two 9-inch tart crusts*)
2 1/2 cups
cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
cold bacon fat, reserved from bacon (see below).
small red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/8-1/4-inch disks
green swiss chard, washed and rough stems removed
large leek, sliced 1/8-1/4 inch thick, thoroughly cleaned, and dried
slices of thinly sliced bacon. (I'm partial to Nueski's).
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cook bacon on a baking sheet in oven for 25-30 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain and cool. Pour bacon fat (should be about 1 tablespoon) into small ramekin and put into fridge to cool while you prep veggies. Crumble bacon.
Raise the oven temp to 450 degrees F and set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Toss sliced potatoes and leeks with olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt and spread on large baking sheet pan. Roast for about 20 -25 minutes, until the edges of potatoes brown.
Blanch the chard in the boiling water for about five minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze or spin as dry as possible. Roughly chop.
Now onto the tart crust: Sift flours and salt together by hand or in bowl of food processor.
Add butter, along with the bacon fat, to flour mixture. Pulse food processor (or cut into flour quickly by hand) just until fat and flours turn pebbly.
Remove blade from processor and sprinkle about six tablespoons of ice water on mixture. Using the processor or your hands, gently combine until the dough starts to hold together. Add more water as needed.
Cut dough in half and form into disks. Wrap with wax paper and chill for about 30 minutes. (The recipe makes two crusts, so reserve one for another tart or pop in freezer for another use).
Roll out one disk of dough on floured surface. Gently fit into tart pan, crimping the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400.
Poke dough in tart pan with fork to ventilate. Line with parchment or foil and add pie weights (or beans and/or rice). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes until pie shell starts to look dry-ish on the bottom. Cool. Lower oven temp to 375 degrees F.
To make the custard, whisk eggs and cream together with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
Distribute chard, potatoes, and leeks evenly on cooled par-baked tart crust. Pour egg mixture over veggies, distributing evenly, up to about 1/4-inch from the top of the pan. Scatter bacon on top of the whole shebang.
Carefully slide tart in center of oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the filling is firm to the touch.
Cool on wire rack. To remove tart from pan, carefully slide the outside ring off the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Note: I used a rectangular 11.5" x 8" tart pan, so if you go with a round pan, you'll likely have leftover crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and spread on a small sheet pan to bake along with the tart for about 10-15 minutes. I usually polish these off myself with a cup of tea before the tart or pie is out of the oven.
I’m a journalist who’s covered everything from illegal logging in Central America to merit pay for teachers, but these days I write mostly about travel. I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in some far-flung locales, where poking around markets and grocery stores is my favorite thing to do. Cooking, especially baking, is my way of winding down after a long day; there’s nothing like kneading bread dough to bring you back to earth.