I think I have discovered the secret to French cooking with this ultra-simple, rustic Swiss chard pie.
The secret is the simplicity of this Swiss chard pie. It is hard to believe how easy it is to make. You need to make this at least once so you will know what I am talking about.
The crust is homemade, but it isn’t fussy. It is also yeasted, so it isn’t like regular pastry that requires loads of butter. This crust has a mere 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
I just love the option here of using spelt flour for the crust. Spelt is something I think you are going to love.
I tell you more about spelt later in this post, but first I want you to imagine what this Swiss chard pie filling tastes like.
To make the filling, you combine prunes, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and sea salt in a food processor. The resultant paste is naturally sweet and savory. Sounds good right? This is indeed a novel way to eat your prunes.
The paste is spread onto the bottom of the pie crust. Next, you sprinkle on sunflower seeds and oats, and follow with a huge pile of raw Swiss chard. There is no need to cook the chard first, nor the paste, which is why this recipe comes together so quickly.
The top crust is draped over and crimped along the edges in a rustic style. The last step is an egg wash. Then it’s into the oven. In just 20 minutes your pie comes out of the oven shiny and golden, and ready to serve for dinner.
Swiss Chard Pie For Dinner
This Swiss chard pie makes you look like a vegetarian plant-based superstar cook. The beautiful pie looks like something you spent hours on, but it really only took 30 minutes of your precious time.
Serve it with a green salad, or maybe some extra vegetables that you decide (smartly) to roast in the oven alongside the pie. This would pair well with something like Brussels sprouts, radishes, celery root, red onions, or turnips.
Or maybe you decide to braise your vegetables on the stove using my standard procedure, starting with a bit of garlic browned in olive oil, followed by the veggies, a good pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of water, and a lid, until everything is just cooked.
Sounds like a meal right?
I hope I have your attention, because this brunch or dinner dish is a dream, and a treat you’ll be glad you made.
Spelt, An Ancient Grain Worth Knowing
Before you get started, I’d like to share a few details about the spelt crust for you. Apart from the Swiss chard, the crust is the star player in this dish due to the character of the spelt grain.
Spelt is an ancient form of wheat that has been cultivated since at least 5,000 B.C.
According to Greek mythology, spelt was a gift from Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility.
Spelt bread and flours are popular in Germany and Austria, but in much of the world spelt isn’t popular. I have ancestry in Austria so maybe this explains why I like it so much.
In North America, spelt is considered a specialty grain. You generally find it only in artisan bakeries and health food stores. Why health food stores? It turns out spelt has some important advantages over wheat. If you decide to give spelt a try, I recommend these products.
Those with gluten intolerances will likely find this grain easier to digest because the gluten in spelt has a different molecular make-up than the gluten in wheat. Its higher fiber content also aids digestion.
Spelt’s taste is nuttier, more complex, sweeter, and lighter than whole wheat. King Arthur Flour has a great post on how to substitute spelt flour for all-purpose in different types of recipes.
As for this recipe, the spelt flour is tested and works really well. It yields a rustic crust that stands up to the filling. After just a short bake, the spelt crust is crisp on the bottom and slightly chewy everywhere else.
Kid-Friendly Finger Food
There’s no need for a knife and fork to eat this. You can actually pick up your slice of Swiss chard pie to munch on it if you like, which is a fun feature that makes this recipe kid-friendly. Kids will also enjoy the overall sweet taste from the prune filling.
When you are ready to make this, be sure to start about 3 hours ahead so the yeasted crust has time to develop. It will only take you about 10 minutes of time to make this crust. The rest is just waiting.
This Swiss chard pie is really easy to make. If you don’t agree, you can leave a comment.
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Recipe for Rustic Swiss Chard Pie with Yeasted Spelt Crust
for the Swiss Chard Pie
- 7 ounces Swiss chard leaves, 4 large and 6 small stalks
- 10 medium prunes, pitted
- 3 medium shallots, roughly chopped (use red onion if that is all you have)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 2 tablespoons rolled spelt or oat flakes
- 3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 large egg yolk
for the spelt crust
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon spelt flour, or all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon active dry OR instant yeast
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- ¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the crust
- * The crust will take 2 ½ hours to finish, but it can be made in advance. See "Notes" for more details. The dough is enough for a top and bottom crust for a large pie, up to 10 inches in size. Mine was 9.5 inches.
- In a medium bowl, use a fork or a dough hook with a stand mixer to combine the flour with ½ cup cold water. Let it rest for 30 minutes to give time for the flour to absorb the water.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast in 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and let it rest for 10 minutes until nice and foamy. If you are using instant yeast, skip this step, but add the 2 tablespoons of water back in the next step.
- Add the wet, foamy yeast, OR the instant yeast (along with 2 tablespoons of water), to the dough. Add salt and olive oil. Knead with a dough hook or by hand until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the counter or the dough hook (about 5 minutes). The dough should feel tacky. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour. If it is too dry, add a bit of water.
- Prepare a mixing bowl with a bit of oil to prevent the dough from sticking and place the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will rise by about half.
For the Swiss chard pie
- Once the dough is ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the Swiss chard into ¾-inch strips, wash it, and dry it in a salad spinner.
- Add prunes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt to a food processor and process into a paste. If you do not have a food processor, you can chop everything finely by hand.
- Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan, or in the oven if your seeds are not already roasted. Mine were.
- Divide your prepared dough into two. Shape each portion into a 1-inch thick disk and set aside until needed. Prepare a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking tray, and place it on your counter. Start with the first disk, and roll it out directly on the parchment paper to 11 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the bottom crust to your baking tray with the parchment paper. Spread the prepared prune paste onto the crust, leaving a 1-inch space around the edges. Sprinkle spelt or oat flakes on top of the paste to soak up excess liquid as the pie bakes. Next, sprinkle the roasted sunflower seeds evenly over the filling. Finally, mound the Swiss chard on top of the filling. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Prepare an egg wash. Combine egg yolk in a small bowl with a tablespoon of water using a fork. Brush the egg wash along the exposed 1-inch bottom edge of the spelt dough.
- Work with the second piece of spelt dough and roll it out into a 12-inch disk (on your counter is perfect). Fold it into quarters and carry it over to your pie piled with Swiss chard. Drape the dough evenly over the entire pie, making sure the edges line up. Fold the edges over and use a fork to crimp and seal. After crimping you can use your fingers to create a decorative effect. A rustic look is perfect and to be expected.
- Use a knife to cut decorative steam vents into the top of the pie crust. Finally, brush the top crust with the reserved egg yolk mixture, and it is ready to go into the oven. You won’t believe that it will only take 25 minutes. The crust will be beautiful and golden brown when ready.