Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Kitchen Keeper Original - Gougères

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...These light and tender morsels are in danger of extinction. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help keep this recipe relevant and make sure that these silky, egg rich pastries remain on our tables for years to come. Please understand, I have nothing against salsa or chips and dips and pesto. I've been known to down a beer or two and confess that beer nuts are not safe in my presence. There are, however, times when I want something a bit more classic, something with culinary chops and a history that commends its presence on my table. The French gougères has much to recommend it. These savory cheese puffs are made with the same pate a choux dough that is used to prepare cream puffs and eclairs, but the addition of cheese or other savories make them a wonderful appetizer or hors d'oeuvres to serve with wine or champagne. They are very easy to make and I also  serve them with more pedestrian meals of soup or stew. I must warn you that they are additive and the puffs should come with a "once bitten" warning attached to them. I've just finished making a gazillion of these to share with friends tomorrow. I know they will love them and I suspect you will too. These are best served directly from the oven, but I understand that that is not always possible, so I have a few tips to share with you. The dough can be refrigerated for a day before it is formed and baked. Once baked, the puffs can be frozen until needed. Frozen puffs should be thawed and reheated in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes before serving. If you plan to bake them ahead of time, make a slit in the bottom of each puff and turn them upside down to let moisture escape.  I make it a point to reheat the gougères before serving them. Five minutes in a 350 degree oven does the trick. While I prefer to use Gruyere cheese, cheddar or blue cheese can be substituted and, if you wish, a filling can be piped into the puffs. I bake my trays of gougère on the lowest rack of the oven and I only bake one tray at a time. It may be my imagination, but I think the puffs get better lift that way. I really hope you will give this recipe a try. I like to share my addictions with others. Here's how these simple cheese puffs are made.

Gougères - Cheese Puffs...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Elizabeth Gunnison and Saveur magazine

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) Gruyère cheese, grated

1)  Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Bring milk, butter, salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat. Add flour, stirring until dough forms. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring dough constantly with a wooden spoon, until slightly dried, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and using a hand mixer, beat in 1 egg until smooth. Repeat with remaining eggs, beating each one at a time, until dough is smooth. Stir in cheese.
2)  Using a large tablespoon, drop balls of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Place in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 375 degrees F.  Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

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