The Aspiring Tart: Pastel de Acelga, or Brazilian Chorizo Pie

So here’s something so not in my wheelhouse. A tart. A savory tart. Whhaaaat? I don’t know.

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I was having a bit of a time finding something that I wanted to make when I happened upon a recipe for this tart, Pastel de Acelga.  I liked the idea of it, and figured there was room to play.

As I’ve mentioned more than once before, one of my reasons for my tart aversion is that I really dislike pie crust. Flour and butter do a lot of good things together but IMO, pie crust is not one of them.  The other is my dislike for fruit-centric desserts, which is a non-issue today.  Anyway, this tart traditionally has a crust on top and bottom, but in my attempt to minimize my crust anxiety, I decided to sub out the traditional topping for a toasty panko one and that suited my tastes quite nicely.

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For the sake of curiosity…what is the difference between a pie and a tart? Is the distinction merely adding a top crust to go with the bottom? What if the top crust is different from the bottom? Is it still a tart? Or a pie? Or…what’s the word?

According to this article, a tart ONLY has a bottom, while a pie can have a top if the baker so chooses.  The goal with a tart crust is that it be firm and crumbly rather than light and flaky like a pie crust. Also, a tart is served in a pan with a removable bottom, and tends to be shallower.  Also related…a galette. I’m not going there.

Hmm.  Given the above criteria, it seems I’ve made a pie. I contemplated buying a tart pan but my limited kitchen spaces makes me frown on extraneous gadgets and given my aversion to crusts as stated above, the chances it’d become an oft used item seemed pretty rare.  Also, I cheated and used Pillsbury for the pie crust because…laziness.  So, here’s a Brazilian pie for you today (though, doesn’t it look a little like a galette? Sigh.).  Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner- Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it.

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Something to remember about my version is that it’s loosely based on the original. The traditional recipe includes hard boiled eggs, which I omitted, and uses a milder cheese like mozzarella rather than a sharp Irish cheddar.  Also, for my bechamel/cheese sauce, I used cashew milk because I like to use it when I’m making a cheesy sauce since it makes it feel richer than it actually is.  I used what I had on hand, and I think it worked out quite well despite diverting from the traditional recipe.   To toot my own horn, I really loved the panko topping-nice and crispy and light-ish tasting.  Muy Bueno, todos.

Pastel de Acelga
Yields 8
Buddha twist on a Brazilian tart, full of swiss chard, chorizo and sharp cheddar cheese
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ready-made pie crust
  2. ½ pound raw pork chorizo
  3. 1 large onion, sliced
  4. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 large head swiss chard, washed with the tough veins removed
  6. 1 TB unsalted butter
  7. 1 TB all-purpose flour
  8. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk
  9. 3 ounces sharp Irish cheddar cheese, shredded
  10. 2 TB Dijon mustard
  11. 2 tsp Cholula hot sauce
  12. Pinch of nutmeg, a few shakes
  13. Salt and pepper, to taste
  14. 1 TB olive oil
  15. ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large skillet, remove the sausage from its casing, break up with a wooden spoon and let thoroughly cook through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. To the same skillet, remove all the excess pork fat except for about 1 tablespoon. If there isn’t enough, add enough oil so you have about 1 TB of fat in the skillet. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chard and cover until it properly wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover from the skillet and cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
  4. While the liquid evaporates, in a saucepan, add the butter and let it melt. Sprinkle the flour on top of the butter and let brown, about 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the mustard, nutmeg and hot sauce and let cook about 5 minutes until it boils. Add the cheese, and stir it in a figure-8 motion until it’s all melted. Let the sauce thicken about 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  5. In a small skillet, add the olive oil and panko and let toast. This will only take about 5 minutes.
  6. Assemble the tart: In a proper tart pan or a pie plate, roll out the crust and, using a fork, poke a lot of holes all around to prevent the crust from bubbling up. Add the first layer of chard, followed by the chorizo. Pour the cheese sauce over the whole thing and then top with the panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the crust has browned. Serve warm or room temp.
Notes
  1. Feel free to use regular milk
  2. You can use a milder cheese like mozzarella
Adapted from various sources
Adapted from various sources
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

 

 

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If you like this, you may also like:

Quiche Lorraine

Tarta Pasqualina

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2 thoughts on “The Aspiring Tart: Pastel de Acelga, or Brazilian Chorizo Pie”

  • TWINNERS! pie crust blows. everything > pie. In a world where there is cake, and you can pie-like filling ON TOP of cheesecake why would you eat pie? Someone asked me if I made crustless quiche because I was gluten-free or eliminating calories, and I was like no, a) gluten is delish, and b) crust sucks and gets soggy. No one needs that.

    • YES!I have a few exceptions: Shortbread crust, because that is obviously shortbread and things like graham cracker/oreo crusts for the same reason. Otherwise, NO.

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