Knotweed season has passed, but here’s a great way to use the sweetened puree of the shoots I mentioned a while ago.
The puree is just a blank slate for whatever you want, eggs can be added like in the recipe here, but there’s really infinite possibilities, for example the knotweed leather (recipe here) as well as some other fun ones I’ve been making I’ll share with you another time.
For these tarts, all you need is a few eggs, a crust, and your choice of topping, like meringue, or the goat cheese mousse recipe I’m going to give you.
The fun part is garnishing. The mousse is stiff enough that you can stick all sorts of fun stuff into it without worrying about it’s shape. I used some of the first berries of the season, herbs, flowers, candied angelica stem and leaves.
Knotweed Custard Tart, With Goat Cheese Mousse
I designed these to be elegant little tarts, enough to serve one or two people each after a meal. You could definitely make a larger tart if you wanted, just remember that the filling and tart shells will need to cook longer, and you make have to lower the oven temperature, or tent it with foil to prevent browning.
The tart molds I used to make these are 6 inch tart shells. You could use whatever you want though, a creme brulee dish, a ramekin, etc, they’re all just a means to an end.
For the sweet tart crust (this makes enough for 6-8 small tarts)
- 2 1/3 cups cake or pastry flour
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and diced 1/2 in
- 2 egg yolks
- Ice water, as needed
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Rice, beans or another pie weight
- 1 cup sweetened knotweed puree (recipe here)
- 1 large egg
For the goat cheese mousse (yields about 3 cups-enough to garnish 6 small tarts)
- 1 cup chevre, quark, sheep ricotta, or cream cheese
- 2 leaves of gelatin (you can substitute 1 packet or ~ 2.5 teaspoons powdered gelatin)
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 cup cream, +1/4 cup
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Fresh lime juice, just a splash
- For the goat cheese mousse, gently heat the cream and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then chill, and whip to stiff peaks. Do not over-beat. Bloom the gelatin in ice water for 5 minutes, then add to the cream and heat until melted. Mix in the goat cheese, season to taste with a dash of lime juice, chill and reserve. After the mixture is thoroughly chilled, remove it from the fridge, whisk it gently to loosen the gelatin, then gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream, and then the rest. Reserve the mixture, placing it in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Keep the mousse refrigerated.
- For the tart crust(s), blend the butter, flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until the texture looks like coarse meal. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a tablespoon or two of the ice water, then add to the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Do not overwork the dough, but make sure it’s smooth and not crumbly. Form the dough into a 1inch tall square, wrap in plastic and refrigerate to stiffen it until ready to roll.
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Take a piece of parchment and cut it into a square big enough to fill whatever mold you’ll be using to cook the tarts. Roll the dough out until thin, about 1/4 in, then line your tart mold(s) with it, pressing the dough into all the nooks and crannies. Put the parchment on top, then fill the mold with the rice or other pie weights. Bake the tarts shells until browned and crisp, about 15-20 minutes depending on size, then remove and cool.
- For the knotweed custard filling, whisk the knotweed puree with the eggs, then pour into the pre-baked tart shells and cook at 325 until just set, about 10-15 minutes depending on size. Remove the tarts and chill.
- To serve the tarts, Pipe some of the mousse onto each tart, then garnish with fresh sweet herbs like mint, flowers and berries of your choice, and serve immediately.