Green pie: Appetizer tart has veggies, ham and cheese

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Charlotte woman’s recipe for a savory, lattice-topped tart won a recent recipe contest sponsored by Nature’s Greens.
Janice Elder’s Amazing Appetizer Lattice Tart won the Show Us Your Heritage Recipe Contest and got the top prize of a trip for two to Charleston.
Contest organizers collected recipes from across the region displaying how cooking greens such as kale, collards, turnips and mustards are used to share family traditions. Recipes varied from appetizers and soups to main entrees and desserts.
Janice Elder’s passion for cooking is quite clear in her winning recipe, Absolutely Amazing Appetizer Lattice Tart. Not only was her presentation pastry-shop beautiful, but she displayed traditional southern flavors in a tasteful dish of pork-spiked greens with minimum effort.
“Using refrigerated pie crusts make this dish quite simple, and the already prepped Nature’s Greens are easy to cook to the perfect tenderness,” said Elder. “Warning – this appetizer will not last long!”
• 1 (15-ounce) package
refrigerated pie crusts
• 1 (1-pound) package
Collards, Turnips, Mustard,
or Kale
• 2 to 3 cups water
• 1/4 cup finely chopped
country ham (or crisp
cooked bacon)
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup ricotta cheese
• 1 teaspoon each salt and
freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
• 1/4 teaspoon ground
cayenne pepper
• 1 egg, separated
(divided usage)
• 1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oven rack at lowest position. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for a two-crust pie using a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or a 9-inch pie pan). Place 1 prepared pie crust in pan; press over bottom and up sides of pan, trimming edges as needed. Reserve.
Cook greens in water until tender; drain well in a colander, pressing firmly to remove excess liquid (very important), then blot with paper towels, again squeezing firmly. Chop coarsely.
In a mixing bowl combine well-drained greens, country ham (or bacon), Parmesan cheese, ricotta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and egg yolk (reserve white for later use); blend well.  Spread evenly into prepared pie crust, smoothing top.
To make the lattice top, cut remaining pie crust into 3/4-inch wide strips (a ruler helps). Arrange strips in a lattice design over greens mixture. Trim and seal edges. 
In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water until foamy; gently brush over the lattice crust. Bake at 400 degrees on the lowest oven rack for about 45 minutes, or until dark golden brown. (Cover loosely with foil during the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking if needed to prevent excess browning.)
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan. Serve warm – cut into wedges to serve. Makes 10 appetizer servings.