The Academy Awards were this past weekend, an event that has always held a special place in my heart (I was born on Oscar night many moons ago). This year, I can honestly say I saw all the Best Picture Nominees and for the ceremony my aunt and her friends had a little get together to watch the proceedings. This, of course, was above all an excuse for me to cook and I made several dishes all perfect for a little appetizer party.
One of the dishes I made (I plan to post the rest over the coming days) were Gourgeres (pronounced goo/zhehr). In keeping with the French pastry kick I’m currently on, these are basically cheese puffs. They’re light and fluffy and often mixed with Gruyere cheese. The choux dough used to make them is the same as that of eclairs or cream puffs (more on this soon!) and surprisingly easy to make.
The secret to choux dough is to cook the butter-water-milk-flour mixture over low heat before adding the eggs and piping them out. As opposed to doughs with yeasts, this batter retains high moisture content which when during baking produces steam which puffs the pastry.
This was my first time making these savory delicacies though I’ve had my eye on this recipe for months now. This recipe in particular is from Alain Ducasse, famed French restaurateur. I must say, they turned out quite well! They have great flavor and would be a great appetizer (as with this event) or served during a cocktail hour (they pair well with something bubbly!).
Look how light and airy they are!
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup milk
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- Large pinch of coarse salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 3½ ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms; stir over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a bowl; let cool for 1 minute. Beat the eggs into the dough, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between each one. Add the cheese and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip and pipe tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat in a 350° oven until piping hot.