Monday, February 15, 2010

gruyère gougères (a.k.a. fancy cheese puffs)

Gruyère Gougères

These are a French snack traditionally served with wine, but they're excellent for basically any occasion on which one eats. The recipe that my mom and I adapted is from some cooking magazine we found years ago, and can be found here. Ours are a little softer and cheesier than the traditional ones. Make extra if you are serving them at a party, because you'll inevitably eat a good portion before it begins.

* 1 cup hot water
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup flour
* 4 eggs
* 2/3 cup to 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
* 1 teaspoon whole seed mustard
* 1 teaspoon hot paprika

- Combine the hot water, butter, salt, and sugar and heat on medium until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is starting to boil. Add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and peels away from the sides of the pot. When most of it is in one clump, turn off the heat and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Batter will separate at first, but will smooth out as you mix.

- Add the cheese, mustard, and paprika to the dough and blend it together. Butter or spray a baking sheet and drop the dough on in small spoonfuls (I usually get about four dozen gougères out of this recipe) or force them through a pastry tube (more trouble than it's worth). They rise upwards instead of out, so you can place them closer together than you would cookies or other baked treats.

- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. They're delicious warm or cold, and will last about twenty-four hours covered by aluminum foil. The dough can also be refrigerated overnight, and most likely frozen, though I haven't tried the latter.

These are addictive the way that french fries and chocolate-covered espresso beans are addictive, and I've yet to find anyone who doesn't like them. Perfect for parties or for random snacking, as they take very little time to make and are decidedly finger food.

Next up: a Stilton and ale version of this recipe.
Until then: just found out that my roommate never thought Cary Elwes was crush-worthy in The Princess Bride. My mind is reeling, must eat more gougères.

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