Recipes·Star Baker

Pea Shoot and Feta Tarts with Chimichurri

This appetizer brings together a myriad of flavours and textures.

This appetizer brings together a myriad of flavours and textures

Three oval-shaped tarts, suspended on a display, filled with a whipped feta cheese filling and topped with three green dots.
(Photo by: Geoff George)

This appetizer brings together a myriad of flavours and textures: the burst of chimichurri nestled in a crisp tart shell, the tangy whipped feta filling, and a kick from jalapenos in every bite.

Lauren’s Pea Shoot and Feta Tarts with Chimichurri were part of her Showstopper in the Season 6 finale of The Great Canadian Baking Show.

Notes: You will use 100 grams of the compound butter for the pastry. Keep the rest refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months. It can be used for making scrambled eggs, sautéed vegetables, steaks and savoury baked goods. Leftover chimichurri is great on steaks, fish and potatoes. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Use the remaining jalapeno syrup for cocktails and in dressings. Store it in the fridge for up to a month. 

Pea Shoot and Feta Tarts with Chimichurri

By Lauren Tjoe

Ingredients

Pea Shoot Compound Butter:

  • 1¾ cup (50 g) pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

Jalapeno Simple Syrup:

  • 8 jalapenos, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar

Jalapeno Gelée:

  • ⅓ cup Jalapeno Simple Syrup
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder (sold at natural food stores and online)
  • Leaf green gel food colouring, as desired

Pastry:

  • ¼ cup (30 g) pistachios, toasted
  • 1½ cups (213 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) icing sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100 g Pea Shoot Compound Butter, cubed, frozen
  • 1 large egg

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup (30 g) cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (15 g) parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt, to taste

Whipped Feta:

  • 2 cups (225 g) feta, crumbled
  • ⅓ cup (83 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup Chimichurri
  • ½ cup (110 g) mascarpone, room temperature

Preparation

Pea Shoot Compound Butter:

Add the pea shoots and garlic scapes to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, then bring half of the parchment or plastic wrap over the butter and form it into a log. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. 

Jalapeno Simple Syrup:

Add the jalapenos, water and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the syrup to a blender and blitz until the jalapenos are finely chopped. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds and flesh. 

Jalapeno Gelée:

Add ⅓ cup of the jalapeno syrup to a small saucepan with the agar agar powder and food colouring. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes, then pour into a 6-inch cake pan and put in the fridge to set.

Pastry:

Add the pistachios to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the flour, icing sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles sand. Add the egg and pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap and form it into a ½-inch-thick disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 16 equal portions. Press each portion into a 2½-inch tart pan. Freeze for 10 minutes. Put the tart pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden and the pastry has a dull finish, 15 to 18 minutes.

Set aside to cool completely, then remove the shells from the tart pans. 

Chimichurri:

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a smooth, pesto-like consistency. 

Whipped Feta:

Add the feta, cream cheese and chimichurri to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and fold in the mascarpone. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. 

Assembly:

Dollop 1 teaspoon chimichurri on the bottom of the tart shell. Then evenly pipe the whipped feta on top to fill the shell. Use a small round cutter or a medium round piping tip to cut rounds of gelée and place on top of the tarts to decorate. 

Makes 16 tarts

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