Makes four 5-inch pies


For the dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces just before using
  • 1/2 cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water, or more, if necessary

    For the filling:
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Spanish onion (about 1/2 pound), thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp. Maldon or another flaky sea salt
  • 1 pound green Swiss chard, stems trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch- wide slices, leaves torn in half
  • 6 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, separated or cut into about 1 1/2 x 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 pound portobello caps, peeled and cut into irregular pieces about as large as the other mushrooms (1 generous cup)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp. crème fraiche
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. whole milk

    Special equipment:
  • 4 nonstick mini (5-inch) pie pans


    Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Add the butter to the flour mixture and toss to coat with flour. Then, work swiftly (the last thing you want is for the butter to melt) to break up and smoosh the butter lumps with your fingertips until none are much bigger than peas. It should take 2 to 3 minutes.

    Pour in the buttermilk and water, stir well with a fork then use your hands to swiftly scrunch and pack (don't knead) the mixture until it comes together as a blob. If there's lots of loose flour, gradually add more water then scrunch and pack again. Cut the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.

    Make the filling: Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and 1 teaspoon of the Maldon salt to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft with just a kiss of brown in coloring, about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture to a bowl, leaving the butter behind.

    Increase the heat to medium-high, add the Swiss chard stems to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping the pot until the stems are lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring almost constantly for a minute. Add the onion mixture to the vegetables along with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring and scraping often, until the mushrooms are cooked through and the stems are tender with a slight crunch, about 5 minutes. Pour in the cream, let it come to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Let the mixture cool completely. You can make this early, up to a day in advance.

    Pour water into a large pan with a lid until it just barely covers the surface. Bring the water to a boil, add Swiss chard leaves and pop on the lid. Cook, stirring once, until the leaves are fully wilted and tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the Swiss chard, let it cool to the touch and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Give the leaves a rough chop and stir into the mushroom mixture.

    Make and bake the pies: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375.

    Take one of the dough halves from the fridge and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour your work surface. Working with 1 piece at a time (and keeping the others, covered, in the fridge), roll the dough into a rough 7-inch- round and about 1⁄8- inch- thick ball——rolling back and forth, then giving the dough a quarter turn, then rolling back and forth again, and so on. Lay it in one of the pie pans, gently pressing the doughit against the bottom and up the sides of the pan so it fits securely. Use a knife to trim off the overhang, and then put the pie shells in the fridge while you roll out the rest. Chill the shells in the fridge for 30 minutes, or so.

    Cut four 6-inch squares out of parchment paper. Crumple each square into a ball, wet the ball under running water, squeeze out all the water then flatten out the ball again (this makes it more malleable). Line each pie shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with raw rice or dried beans, using your fingers to make sure the rice or beans extend all the way to the edges. Put the pie pans on a baking sheet and bake, rotating the baking sheet once, just until the rim of the dough no longer looks raw, about 15 minutes.

    Take the dishes out of the oven, wait 5 minutes or so, then carefully remove the parchment and rice or beans. (You can save the rice or beans to use the next time you bake.) Divide the filling among the 4 crusts and add 1 teaspoon of crème fraîche to the center of each pie.

    Whisk together the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Brush the rim of the crusts with some of the egg mixture. Take the remaining dough from the fridge and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (and keeping the remaining pieces covered in the fridge), roll into a 7-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Working swiftly, lay the rounds over each pie and press them lightly against the edge of the crust so they adhere. Trim off any overhang with a knife and crimp the edges of the pie. Brush the tops with the egg mixture, return the pies to the baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet occasionally, until the tops are golden brown, about 35 minutes. A little bit of butter might leak out; that's just fine.

    Carefully invert each dish; the pie should slip right out. If not, use a knife to make sure the edges have separated from the dish. Serve them tops-up on plates and eat straightaway.

    From A Girl and Her Greens (Ecco) by April Bloomfield.

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