When trying a new recipe, you know you've hit the jackpot when the picky eater reaches for seconds and the husband asks if the next batch is going into the oven soon.. This does not happen too often chez moi... but sometimes it does.. and when it does.. I do my happy dance... then reach out for the laptop to share the excitement with you.
So it was a lazy Sunday morning and me, in an effort to get my three and half year old excited about food, decided to play kitchen with him. As we have already mastered the art of making smoothies and have also realized that mixing muffin batter is a child's play, this time we wanted to try something new, something a little more involved but playful nevertheless. A glance at the recipe archive reminded me of Giada's Cheese Pastry Puffs.... Perfect I thought... and quickly decided on the game plan. Now... tying up any activity with story-time is always fun, so I decided on Noah's Ark as the theme for the morning, pulled out my box of Noah's Ark Cookie cutters, the story book, crayons and a drawing book. The plan was to start off with the dough and while it sat in the refrigerator we would read the story, draw and color a boat with animals in it, then cut out the chilled dough, bake them and enjoy them with juice..
But since plans are meant to be disrupted ... so no sooner had we put the dough to chill, Papa decided to take the toddler out for a while, hence the drawing and coloring got swapped with playtime with the neighbours's puppy and the one hour refrigeration time was stretched to four to include bath-time, lunch and a nap afterwards. The puffs finally made their way into the oven at teatime and the request for the second batch followed soon after...
Now, about these cheese puffs.... A while ago I had baked the Giada's Pastry puffs with a twist of spinach. Those were good... but this time there was no spinach in the refrigerator so I decided to try them with green peas and feta instead and for all the good reasons swapped the butter with part olive oil and part tahini. For color I made a second batch with roasted red bell pepper instead of green peas and as you can see the two together made a pretty plate...
Pea-n-Feta Cheese Puff
- 6 tablespoons quick cooking oats
- 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 80 gms feta cheese (about ½ cup)
- ¼ peas, boiled *(see notes)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons mint
- 2 tablespoon yogurt
- salt and pepper for sprinkling on top
- In the mixer-blender, blend the olive oil, tahini, peas, garlic to a paste.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the paste and mix well until you have a smooth dough.
- The dough will be quite soft. Shape it into a ½cm thick disc, wrap the disc with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or upto 2 days. In case you do not plan to use the dough within the next 2 days, freeze it for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using.)
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and using cookie cutters cut out different shapes of the dough and place them on the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the cut outs. (These cheese do not spread much on baking so you can place them close to each other.)
- Bake them for 10-15 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the puffs. When done, they will puff up and brown slightly on the edges.
Cool completely before serving.
You can also use roasted red bell pepper in place of the boiled green peas and make some bell pepper and feta cheese puffs.