THIS RECIPE FROM BIKE BASKET PIES finds inspiration in the farmers’ market movement. Natalie Galatzer, who earned her undergraduate degree in molecular biology, is, like many folk in their twenties, a strong advocate of local food and local farmers. When we met, our rendezvous point was, appropriately, the farmers’ market at the Ferry Plaza.
MAKES 12 HAND-SIZE PIES
1 bunch rainbow, green, or Swiss chard 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 pounds garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste Natalie’s Pie Dough (recipe follows) Flour, for rolling out the pie dough
Remove the coarse stems from the chard and chop them. Chop the chard leaves separately. Set the chard stems and leaves aside separately.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the coconut milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir to incorporate.
Add the chopped chard stems and the salt and black pepper to the sweet potato mixture and cook until the potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 15 minutes more. Add the chopped chard leaves and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary, keeping in mind that the coconut milk and the pie pastry will absorb some of the seasoning. Remove the sweet potato mixture from the heat and set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Divide each of the 2 disks of dough into 6 equal pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out each round of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of ¼ inch. Add a little flour if necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Gently press the rounds of dough into the wells of one 12-cupcake, or two 6-cupcake, dark-surfaced cupcake tins. The dough rounds will extend up the side and over the edge of the wells. Place the cupcake tin in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes for the dough to chill.
Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the wells of the cupcake tin, dividing it evenly among them. Place a cup of water close by to wet your fingers and fold the dough over the top of each pie, pinching the edges to prevent the dough from sinking into the filling. Wet your fingers frequently. Refrigerate the pies for about 15 minutes.
Bake the pies for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake the pies for 20 to 30 minutes longer. The pies are done when the sides of the crust are a deep golden brown.
Remove the pies from the oven and immediately slide a knife between the edges of the tin and the crusts and twist the pies to loosen them. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the pies from the tin and transfer them to parchment paper to cool completely. These pies are best eaten after they rest for 30 minutes or more.