* 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.
Use a serrated knife to slice the pie into pieces. Enjoy with a green salad, or if you prefer, a side of cooked vegetables. This pie is surprisingly light, and very satisfying, so it doesn’t need too much more to make it a complete meal.
The dough can be made a day or more in advance. If you want to do this, just refrigerate immediately after kneading. When you are ready to use it, remove it from the fridge at least two hours before you need it. I used this method and it worked great. When the dough is ready to use, it will be nice and puffy, and very easy to roll out.You can also try using all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour for this recipe. I haven’t tested it, but it should work.Credit for this recipe goes to Clotilde Dusoulier, author of The French Market Cookbook.It is only slightly adapted, by substituting sunflower seeds for pine nuts. Sunflower seeds are cheap, grow locally, and taste just as good :)