Seasonal local food recipe No.181: Chard and bacon tart

This classic mixture of greens, eggs, cream and bacon comes from Leon Family & Friends by cookery writer Kay Plunkett-Hogge and John Vincent, co-founder of the Leon chain of restaurants.

Serves 6–8

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50-60 minute

For the pastry
250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge, diced
A pinch of sea salt
Small glass of iced water

For the filling
70g lardons or chopped bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
100g chard leaves or kale, shredded
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
200ml double cream
100g gruyere cheese
1–2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Butter a 23cm non-stick tart tin with a removable base.

Measure out the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Start rubbing the flour and butter together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the salt. Then add the iced water, 1 tsp at a time, until the pastry just comes together. Don’t add too much water or you’ll get a hard pastry.

Roll it into a loose ball and, using your fingertips, gently push the dough into the tart tin, easing it around until it evenly covers the base and sides. Cover the whole thing with greaseproof paper and weigh it down with some baking beans, then blind bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.

Over a medium heat cook the lardons or chopped bacon in a frying pan for about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Wipe out the pan then return it to the heat and add the oil and garlic. Fry for a minute or so – don’t let it colour too much – then add the chard and a pinch of salt, and cook until just wilted. Remove from the heat, set aside and leave to drain in a colander. When cool, squeeze out any excess liquid.

Take the tart shell out of the oven. Carefully remove the greaseproof paper and the baking beans, and pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes to crisp up.

In a clean bowl beat the eggs, egg yolk, cream, salt and pepper with an electric whisk. Stir in the gruyere and the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the tart shell from the oven. Scatter the chard across the base. Sprinkle the bacon bits in then pour in the cream and egg mixture. Bake the tart in the oven for 30–40 minutes until the filling has puffed up and the pastry is a lovely golden brown.

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