20 September 2012
Cocktail party foods, as I said last week, aren't really my thing. But this one is my favorite. Gougeres (pronounced goo-ZHAIR) are these gorgeous little savory French puffs that never fail to impress. Everyone thinks they're difficult, but they're not. So you can come off like some sort of culinary genius with comparatively little effort or skill!
Actually, it is gougères, but I usually leave the diacritical marks out of my posts for simplicity sake. The recipe is just a variation on the pâte à choux (cream puff dough) I've always used for cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles. So, naturally, while stirring these up my craving for all of those was stirred up! It's a safe bet you'll be seeing them here very soon!
Gougeres, like their sweet cousins, are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious with a glass of Champagne or other wine, it's a perfect addition to your HD (hors d'oeuvre) tray. Gruyere is the classic cheese, but a good Cheddar works equally well. For a touch of green, stir in a teaspoon of finely minced flat-leaf parsley.
What's your favorite libation and accompanying nibbles?
(Makes about 15)
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 packed cup (2.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 packed cup (2 ounces) finely shredded Gruyère or Cheddar
2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon finely minced flat-leaf parsley, optional
1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line large baking sheet (I use a heavy-duty half-sheet pan) with parchment paper. Measure out all ingredients. In 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, salt and spices; bring to a boil.
2 Remove from the heat. Add the flour all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a smooth dough. Return to medium heat, and stir until it dries out a bit and pulls away from the pan, leaving a film on the bottom of the pan, at least 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 3 minutes.
3 Very vigorously beat the eggs into the dough one at a time, beating thoroughly after each until fully incorporated. Beat in the cheeses and the optional parsley or other green stuff, if using.
4 Pipe, scoop* or spoon small mounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees; continue baking for 20 minutes, perhaps 25. The puffs should be well browned and very crisp.
* Using a scoop is the easiest, neatest method of forming the puffs. No messy pastry bag to clean up afterward. If you don't have a #60 scoop, get one now! Not just for gougeres, but for profiteroles, small cookies and who knows what all. The other scoop size I use a lot is the larger #40 scoop.
Note: If you missed last week's post, go there now for more Cocktail Party Foods.