Happy New Year! Bouchon’s Gougeres
What?! Too cheesy?
I had writer’s block when I sat down to compose this post. Staring at my screen, fingers poised on the keyboard, sipping a glass of wine and munching on these cheese puffs I had just pulled out of the oven, I was drawing a blank. Then my cell phone rang, “Happy New Year!” blurted a voice at the other end. Ta-da! Blogger’s block gone.
Continuing with my exploration of the Bouchon Bakery book I ooh-ed and aah-ed my way through the chapter on pate a choux (aka cream puff pastry). Dreamy cream puffs with a crackle finish, Chocolate Eclairs, Paris Brest-all looked exquisite. I wanted something simpler plus I had a wedge of Comte cheese in the fridge so I chose his recipe for the humble Gougere. Cheese, finely shredded, is added to choux pastry to create a savory, airy, small bite, perfect with wine or champagne. My next happy hour nibbler board will definitely include these little gems.
The recipe is straightforward. Be sure to have all your ingredients out and prepped before you begin. Water and butter are heated to which flour is added and stirred until it forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the pot. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, blend briefly to release heat and moisture and add eggs a couple of tablespoons at a time. NOTE: TK uses weights for measurements in this book. Very helpful to have a scale.
I cheated. I didn’t have the silicon round pan so I used my non-stick donut hole pan instead (yay, I used it for something!) It worked well though they needed to sit a couple of minutes before I could remove them easily. I also didn’t have a pastry bag handy so I used a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and snipped off a corner. Piping directly onto parchment or a Silpat probably works just as well.
Next time I make these I may change up the type of cheese (gruyere cheddar), add chili pepper instead of black pepper and add chopped chives or green onions, yum! The batter freezes well so you can keep a supply of shaped ones in the freezer for impromptu get-togethers.
Stretching the boundaries, I’ve decided to make this Cookie #10 on my 12 days of holiday cookies list. They’re small and bite-size just like a cookie. I’m tackling Bouchon’s Cream Puffs one of these days!
- 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp water
- 2.2 ounces unsalted butter (4.5 Tablespoons)
- 1/2 + 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 0.3 grams freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tsbp all purpose flour
- 150 grams eggs (approximately 2 eggs-crack eggs into a bowl, blend eggs and weigh out amount)
- scant 1 cup aged shredded gruyere cheese
- options: Add chopped green onions or chives to batter (2 T), sprinkle tops with additional shredded cheese
- Combine the water, butter, salt, pepper in a medium saucepan, place over medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Once the butter has melted, increase heat to medium-high and then bring to a simmer, then remove pan from the heat, with a wooden spoon, stir in all the flour.
- Continue to stir for 1 1/2 minutes until the mixture has a paste-like consistency, then place over medium-high heat and stir rapidly for 1 minute, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean. The dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry.
- Immediately transfer the dough to a mixer bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to release some of the moisture. Slowly begin to add the eggs, 50 grams at a time, beating until each addition is completely absorbed before adding the next one. Continue adding the eggs, mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl pulled with the paddle but immediately grabs back on again.
- Increase speed to medium for 15 seconds to ensure that all the eggs are incorporated. Stop the mixer. When the dough is lifted, it should form a bird's peak- it should hold it's shape and turn down on itself but not break off. Add the cheese and pulse to incorporate (I used my mixer and blended the cheese in quickly)
- Put batter into pastry bag. Pipe into molds (I didn't have molds, I used my donut hole pan) Or pipe little free form balls, slightly less than 1 inch in diameter onto a baking sheet, spread about 1 1/2 inches apart. When finished piping, I used my finger dipped in water, to push down and get rid of the little tip that is left on top of each one from the piping.
- Freeze the gougeres for about four hours until firm.
- If you want to bake some right away. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
- If you are baking from frozen: Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with frozen gougeres, leaving about 1 inch between them. Spray lightly with water. Place in the oven, immediately lower temperature to 350F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.