26 December, 2012

Gougeres (Cheese Puffs)

Gougeres are a baked savory choux pastry.  In English- basically a French cheese puff.   They are traditionally served cold during wine tastings, or served warm as an appetizer.

I made them as a side for Sunday dinner- Pot Roast with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Cremini Mushrooms, Scalloped Potatoes, Sauteed Asparagus, and of course, the Gougeres.
They'd be a nice addition to a cheese plate perhaps (yes more cheese!!).  I'd serve them in place of dinner rolls, with soup, with brunch, with breakfast.  I could go on.. 

They are crispy on the outside, with an almost hollow, fluffy interior with an undeniably cheesy taste. 
In fact they taste like Cheez-Its.

EXACTLY like cheez-its.  

I haven't decided if that's a good or bad thing yet. 

This is your basic gougere recipe, but there's endless amounts of variations you can make.  You could use different cheeses, add ingredients like chives, shallots, maybe even prosciutto?!  Maybe a sweet version could be made with the right cheese, a bit of sugar, and diced apples..
In any case, make sure your ingredients are measured and ready-to-go.  This recipe doesn't mess around, when it says add something immediately, do it immediately.  No turning your back to grate cheese here- have it ready, you'll thank me later. 

This recipe makes about 3 dozen.  Make enough that everyone can have at least 3.  You'll want extra though, as every time they walk by the platter of gougeres they'll be popping another in their mouth.
Make extra- these freeze well.  Simply let them cool completely, set them out on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer and once frozen, pop the gougeres into a ziploc bag.  


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup water
5 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 tsp milk
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.

In a saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, cayenne, and paprika. Bring to a boil, allowing the butter to melt completely over medium, medium high heat.

Remove pan from heat, and immediately add the entire one cup of flour at once, beating ferociously until completely incorporated. Continue beating until mixture forms a mass in the center of pan, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Make a well in the dough and add one egg.  Beat ferociously again until COMPLETELY combined.  Add the next egg, again combine completely, and do the same with the 3rd and 4th eggs, making sure egg is completely combined before adding another.  The 5th egg will be used later.

Beat in the gruyere and one-third of the cheese. until melted and thoroughly blended.  

Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip, or using a Ziploc bag with a small corner cut off, pipe the dough onto the baking sheets about 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch high.  Leave 2 inches between each, as they will double in size.

In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the milk.  Brush the egg mixture over the top of the gougeres gently, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.   Bake 20 minutes, or until gougeres are golden.  Remove from oven (leave oven on) and use a paring knife or other small sharp knife to cut a small slit into the side of each gougere.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to dry out the inside.  Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.  Gougers may be served warm or at room temperature.

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