And now for something a little different. Sweet kale and ricotta pie

(Spring kale)

In the midst of all my recent Christmas baking, it suddenly hit me that concrete plans for our family’s Christmas dessert had yet to be made or discussed. Being the only regular baker in a family of diabetics, non-dessert eaters and the very health conscious, I have a feeling my contribution will end up being.. salad.

Well, I kid, but only just. I’m tempted to throw them for a loop and serve a piece of dessert pie disguised as a savoury dish.

This kale and ricotta pie was baked recently when I found myself in possession of too much kale. A dessert based around kale may seem a little strange but in fact this recipe stems from a traditional French pastry called Tourte de Blettes. Make it when you feel like having something a little different or when you think you aren’t getting your recommended daily dose of greens.

And now, back to more regular baking. What are you serving for Christmas this year?

Kale and ricotta pie :
(based on a recipe from Heart of the artichoke and other kitchen journeys by David Tanis)

For the dough:
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 stick (113g) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
grated zest of 1/2 lemon

To make the dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the flat beater, mix the dry ingredients on low speed. Add the butter and mix for about 2 minutes more, until crumbly. Add the egg mixture and the lemon zest and mix another minute, until the dough almost comes together. Divide the dough into two, one portion twice as big as the other. Flatten each into a disc and chill, tightly wrapped, for at least an hour.

For the filling :
1 large bunch chard, trimmed, ribs discarded, and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips (about 4 cups) – or 4 cups of chopped kale (both the leaves and young stems)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in warm water until plumped
1/4 cup pine nuts

To make the filling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the chard for 1 minute; drain well. Let cool, and squeeze out any liquid.

Preheat the oven to 175’C. In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, sugar, lemon zest and spices.

Dust a pastry cloth with flour and roll out the larger portion of dough into a circle 2 inches larger than the diameter of your 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin, then carefully unroll it over the pan and gently press it into place, so that it comes about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. The dough is fairly soft but don’t worry if it tears. Just patch it up with scraps of dough and it’s barely noticeable once baked.

Drain the raisins, mix them with the greens, pine nuts and ricotta mixture and spread over the dough in the pan.

Roll the second piece of dough into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Place it on top of the filling, trimming and crimping the edges. Bake the pie for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden. aligncenter size-full wp-image-5936/a

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  1. leaf (the indolent cook) said,

    December 15, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    This is a really interesting dessert and I can see how the kale would work with the other ingredients. Hope to try it someday!

  2. Rosa said,

    December 15, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    Thta pie looks great! I really love your choice of filling. Very refined tasting, I’m sure…



  3. Hannah said,

    December 16, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    How fantastic! I’m sure I’d love this… once I picked out all the nasty squoodgy raisins, that is 😛

  4. Tian said,

    December 16, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    With kale chips all the rage, I’ve been keeping a lookout for kale at a local market we go to in Melb but never to be found. Even the supermarkets don’t seem to have it. The kale hunt continues..

  5. kitchenvoyage said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    I really like kale, but always i have too much leftover. Now i have the perfect excuse for buy again!

  6. Julia @ Mélanger said,

    December 20, 2011 @ 6:33 am

    What a surprise that would be with the first bite, or even slice! Looks lovely – the pastry just deliciously flaky and melt-in-your-mouth!

    So no sweets from you this year? How sad? My mother (who is a regular reader of my blog – LOL!), has requested Finnish stars, shortbread and gingerbread. Will be back in the kitchen come Christmas eve eve!

    Hope you have a lovely holiday. 🙂

  7. Emma said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 5:45 am

    How very very interesting. I’d be liable to say it sounds like it’d be weird, but it’s not weird, it’s just French! My desire to be tres cool comme les Francais overtakes all rational thoughts in my mind:)

  8. Hannah said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    You are so spot on here- I was just looking at a recipe for a dessert pie with greens! (Swiss chard, actually) Glad it really has some potential, I’m just so curious to try it.

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