gougères

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Bottom line: pâte à choux dough + cheese = mouth-watering yumminess.

Seriously, I cannot even explain to you how excited I am about these things.  They are incredibly easy to make, you probably already have all of the ingredients in your house, and they are positively divine.  They’re also terrifically versatile, and would present equally well as a quick breakfast, snack, or in the place of a dinner roll.  oh, and you can freeze the dough.  mmm. savory pastry goodness.

they follow the same theory as popovers, like popovers, this dough involves minimal ingredients and lacks a leavening agent, instead using the steam created during the cooking process to puff the pastry.

the recipe comes from 101 cookbooks.

yield: appx. 2 dozen.

2/3c. beer (or water, or tea, or whatever other liquid you fancy)

1/3 c. milk

8T butter, cut into Tablespoons

3/4t sea salt (I used kosher salt and everything worked out just fine)

1/2c. all-purpose flour

1/2c. whole wheat flour

4 large eggs, room temp (I used 3 jumbo, because that’s what I had on hand and the internet seemed to think it was a reasonable substitution)

1 1/4c sharp white cheddar, grated

1t fennel seeds, crushed with mortar & pestle

the how-to:

preheat to 425, with rack in top third. heat the beer, milk, butter and salt over med-high heat just until it begins to boil. reduce heat and add flours.  stir, and then stir some more.  stir until it comes together like play-dough.  101 thinks that you should let it go until it smells “toasty.”  to me, it just continued to smell like beer.  mmmm, beer.  remove from heat and let cool enough that your eggs won’t scramble (appx. 5 minutes).  add in the eggs one by one and stir (I did this by hand, but think next time I’d call in the big guns, because it was stickier than a kid with a Popsicle in July and was terrifically hard to integrate.  full disclosure: i gave up on mixing “by hand,” in favor of mixing WITH my hands).  once the four eggs have been incorporated, add in 1c. of the cheese and stir.  immediately scoop tablespoon-sized dough balls onto the cookie sheet that you have lined with parchment paper.  these guys expand, so give them room.  approximately 1.5 inches in  between them. sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the fennel.

bake 5 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 20-25 minutes.  before they come out they shuold be golden, puffed and not appearing to be on the verge of collapse.

101 also says they can be frozen for later use! i tossed some in the freezer, and will dutifully report back. apparently you can bake straight from the freezer, just adding a couple minutes of bake time.

so, i used the recipe from 101 Cookbooks, but there are certainly no shortage of alternate versions floating around out there. here are some variations which are suggested elsewhere (namely here: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/taste/recipes/132164493.html).  oh, and not to insult your intelligence or anything, but clearly the ingredients referenced below sub in for the cheddar and the fennel, though perhaps with the exception of the cheddar/rosemary combination below (and maybe not even that), i would incorporate into the dough before scooping.

1 c. Gruyere/2 tsp Dijon mustard or 1 tsp. dry mustard

• 1/2 cup blue cheese and 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

• 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or dill (sprinkle tops with some grated Parmesan);

• 1 cup Cheddar cheese (I would add the additional 1/4 c for topping, as above)  and 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary;

• 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, the zest of 1 lemon and some chopped parsley.

please rest assured that i intend to try every. single. one.

psst: as usual, not my photo.  but since i have frozen dough, this time i really do think that i can fix that in fairly short order.

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