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Sicilian Tart with Chard, Feta, Pine Nuts, and Currants

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Wednesday, 16 March 2011
List of viewable recipes from "The Winemaker Cooks: Menus, Parties, and Pairings" by Christine Hanna

Recipe from The Winemaker Cooks: Menus, Parties, and Pairings by Christine Hanna (Chronicle Books, 2010)

Nominated for a 2011 IACP Cookbook Award in the American category. For a list of all the finalists check out the our IACP Finalists' Guide.

ImageMy husband and I took a trip to Sicily when I was seven months pregnant. The Sicilians love pregnant women, so I got extra helpings of pasta and gelato everywhere I went! For four hundred years, Sicily was ruled by the Arabs, so their cuisine melds traditional Italian flavors with Eastern Mediterranean influences. This savory tart is layered with the flavors of Sicily, and it tastes great at room temperature.

Chardonnay is a perfect accompaniment.

Pastry Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups/160 g all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp/100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp ice water


  • 1/4 cup/30 g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried currants
  • 1 lb/455 g Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup/225 g fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1/2 cup70 g crumbled feta cheese

For the dough: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles pebbles. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Adjust an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/ gas 5. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-in/30.5-cm round. Fit the dough into a 10-in/25-cm round or square fluted tart pan/flan tin with a removable bottom, pushing the dough into the sides. Run the rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Fit a sheet of parchment/baking paper into the crust and add dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack/cake cooler.

For the filling: Spread the pine nuts in a pie pan and toast in the hot oven for 10 minutes, or until golden. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until simmering. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the currants and toss to coat with the oil. Add the chard, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Drain the chard of any excess liquid.

Drain ricotta in a sieve lined with cheesecloth/muslin for 30 minutes before using; otherwise, the crust will be soggy. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta and feta together until blended. Spread the cheese mixture evenly in the cooled crust. Layer the chard mixture over the top, then sprinkle the pine nuts evenly over the chard. When ready to serve, remove the sides of the tart pan and cut into wedges.

Serves 12 as a buffet course, or 8 as first course


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 March 2011 )
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