Double-crusted pecan, french lentil and chard pie

Lentil chard and pecan pie

Lentil chard and pecan pie

If the sun ever came out you felt that it might be warm, but the morning was cold and damp. A pretty mist clung to the ghostly sycamores and the blue-bronze wintery leaves, and it crept inside to chill your bones. All the vendors at the flea market huddled or paced behind their tables to keep warm. It was a slow day, but wednesdays are always slow days. They had a slight rush of business. A lunchtime rush? Too early for lunchtime, way too early for lunchtime. Well I’m eating lunch. Yeah, but you’ve been up since four. Oh, I got up at three this morning, and thought why bother going back to sleep? Oh, that’s just terrible. I can give you the owl for five dollars, or the goose for eight. Half price on all the jewelry, and everything is fifty cents in this box. Behind one table stood an elderly man with an unperturbable smile on his face. A woman walked up to his wares and he said, “Tremors!” by way of greeting. He held up his hands in demonstration, and they were, indeed shaking. “I’ve got tremors.” “Well, we still like you,” said the woman. “And I still like myself!” He replied brightly. And then they discussed crocheted blankets, just the thing to keep you warm an on early December morning.

French lentil, chard, and olive pie

French lentil, chard, and olive pie

We went to the flea market to search for Christmas presents and came home with nothing but a stack of cake pans and pie tins for Claire! What a brat. They’re beautiful and slightly mysterious vintage French pie tins and cake pans, and I love them. And I’m looking forward to using them. I made this pie in one such vintage french cake tins. It’s a little broader and flatter than a traditional American cake pan, which makes a nice double-crusted savory pie. This is filled with some of my favorites–french lentils, swiss chard and black olives. I also tried something new, which was to blend eggs with pecans and mix that right in with the filling. Almost like a pecan frangipane. I thought it turned out very tasty. If you don’t like olives, don’t be put off this recipe. Try substituting raisins!

Here’s Soldiers Things by Tom Waits, my flea market theme song.


1 stick unsalted butter, frozen (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
ice water

Combine the flour, salt and pepper. Grate in the frozen butter and mix it with a fork till you have a coarse and crumbly mixture. Stir in the olive oil. Add just enough ice water to make a workable dough (1/2 cup, around, but start with less.) Knead the dough for about 1 minute, to make sure everything is incorporated. Make it into a ball, press it flatish, and wrap in foil. Chill for at least 1/2 hour


1 T olive oil
1 bunch chard, trimmed, washed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup black olives, pitted and chopped

3 eggs
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 t balsamic
pinch nutmeg
2 cups french lentils cooked like this.

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated smoked gouda
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and rosemary, stir and fry for about a minute. Add the chard and a little water, and sautee until the chard is tender but bright and the pan is dry. About five minutes. Add a little more water if the pan dries out before the chard is tender. Stir in the olives and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, whiz the eggs until they’re smooth and frothy. Take out a tablespoonful and set aside. Add the pecans to the food processor and process until smooth. Add the balsamic and nutmeg, and then pour the mixture into a bowl. Stir in the french lentils, the cooled chard-olive mixture and the cheeses.

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter and flour a large cake pan or springform pan. Divide the chilled dough into 3/4 and 1/4 pieces. On a floured surface roll out the large piece to be about 1/8th inch thick, and large enough to fit up the sides of your pan. Fit it over the pan, and press the edges down and around to form a lower casing. Don’t worry about the edges being perfectly neat.

Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pan. Roll the smaller piece of dough to be about 1/8th inch thick, and place this round over the top of the pie. Seal the edges lightly, and then roll the outside edge down over the inside edge. Crimp the edges with a fork, and poke the top of the pastry in a few places with a fork. Brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till the top is puffed and crispy and golden brown. Allow to cool and set for a few minutes before turning it out of it’s pan.


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