Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gougeres

I've been afraid to try my hand again at pate a choux ever since most of my eclairs deflated upon coming out of the oven.  But I'm glad to say no such thing happened with my Gougeres!  They're French cheese puffs, flavored here with Gruyere and Parmesan.  Have them with a glass of wine in the afternoon.  The taste reminds me of cheese straws, but they're simpler to make than puff pastry made from scratch.

The dough is flavored with shredded cheeses, paprika, nutmeg, and herbs (not shown here).

You dip a cutter in flour to mark circles on your mat for piping later.  I had to keep dipping and tapping to get these faint outlines.

Butter melts with the spices before water and flour are added.  Don't let it boil away unattended or all your moisture will evaporate.

Then use your elbow grease until a film forms on the bottom.

Then add your cheeses -- I don't think I ever realized how stinky Parmesan and Gruyere are!  I used parsley and chives for my herbs. 

It's easy to incorporate the eggs when you have a stand mixer.  The recipe says you've got enough egg when you touch the dough with your finger and it forms a small peak.

Cheesy bag.  I could fit only half the dough in the bag at a time, so don't try to squash it all in at once.

Then pipe your dough into the circles outlined earlier.

And they baked up without a hitch!
I got 48 Gougeres out of this recipe, which is way too many!  Good news is, you can freeze the piped dough and bake them up whenever the fancy strikes.

Gougeres
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for marking
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp freshley grated nutmeg
1½ cups grated Gruyere cheese (5 ounces)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus ¼ cup for sprinkling (about 1 ounce total)
2 tbs chopped fresh dill
2 tbs chopped fresh chives
4 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg white if needed

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Line three large baking sheets  with nonstick baking mats, such as Silpats, or parchment paper.  Dip a 1½-inch round cookie cutter in flour, and mark circles about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the butter, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, and nutmeg over medium-high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil, and immediately remove from heat.  Using a wooden spoon, add flour, stirring vigorously, until flour is no longer visible.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a film on the bottom, about 4 minutes.  Stir in both cheeses and the herbs, and mix just until the cheese is melted.

Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electrix mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until incorporated.  Lightly beat the last egg, and add a little at a time until the batter is smooth and shiny.  Test the batter by touching it with your finger and lifting -- if should form a soft peak.  If a soft peak does not form, the batter needs more egg.  If you have added all the egg and the batter still won't form a soft peak, add the egg white, a little at a time, until it does.

Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ⅝-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco # 808); pipe puffs to fit in the floured circles.  Sprinkle each puff with remaining Parmesan.  Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until puffs are golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately, as Gougeres are best eaten warm from the oven.

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