Last week marked the first day of Autumn for us, in the Northern Hemisphere. The Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, or whatever you like to call it, is officially my favorite day of the year, because it marks my favorite season of the year. Autumn for me is like the beginning of a new year, a re-birth of sorts, a time for inner reflection as we turn inwards while hunkering down for colder weather. There is much to celebrate – cooler temperatures, fireplaces, time with family, cozy evenings sipping hot beverages, snuggling up in blankets and reading stories, beautiful colors, and seasonal fare. I feel like fall foods, are some of the most universally seasonal eating people do – hearty soups and stews, pumpkins and other winter squashes, roasted root vegetables, and fruits like pears and apples figure prominently for most people without even having to think about it. There is something about the crisp air that hearkens to change.
To celebrate the change of seasons, I always like to make a special dinner on that day. So for this equinox I prepared Apple and Swiss Chard Tart. You may remember me making this before, but this time, I prepared my own gluten free crust, using a combination of garbanzo bean, fava bean and rice flours. I also used Cameo apples, one of my favorites. It goes wonderful with a nice slice of sharp cheddar – another ingredient in the pie. We always have the Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar in our fridge. It is amazing to eat plain, but also goes great in cooking. It also makes us feel closer to the home in our heart, the state of Vermont.
Because this is such a comforting, yet healthy dish, I wanted to make it in honor of something else, besides just the changing of the guards so to speak. Just like last year, when I baked it for Breast Cancer Awareness. This year I wanted to make it for the O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness. This is its second year running and is done to raise awareness about Ovarian Cancer. The O Foods tradition is in honor of our friend, award-winning pastry chef Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. Gina has been fighting ovarian cancer for the past year and a half, and in addition to physically battling the disease, she has also started the Cowgirl Cure Foundation to raise awareness and money for research as well. She is an amazing woman, and I wish her all the best. She will be judging this years O Foods Contest!!! But since I am posting this on the last day of the contest (and I apologize profusely for that), you can also participate by just donating money to the Cowgirl Cure Foundation.
We raised a toast to Gina and Autumn by sipping some nice and sparkling Italian Prosecco with our tart dinner! If you are looking for some delicious fall flavors, this tart has it all, apples, chard, cheddar and caramelized onions. For the recipe, click here . As for the crust recipe, I adapted it from a recipe on About.com. The flavor was amazing, but the crust did stick to the tart pan. So I would suggest using butter (I used oil) to grease the pan with. If anyone else has other suggestions for greasing tart pans, I would love to hear them!