There was a very big football game for us folks in the Midwest this Sunday (or so I hear) and I was nice enough to make Matt a basket of warm Gougères to munch with his beer while watching the game.
Dream girlfriend, I know. Totally selfless.
Reality? I just want something to eat with my Champagne when I get home from work on New Year’s Eve, so I whipped up a batch of Gougères. Also, I detest watching football so I thought I’d cook up something blog-worthy so I could type the afternoon away instead of being forced to sit in front of the TV, pretending to care about the most painfully boring sport in existence.
Have you made Gougères before? I hadn’t. Turns out they are way easy to make and with minimal effort you can have warm, airy, little cheese puffs anytime you like. And you can have the satisfaction of knowing you made them yourself. And that you’re awesome.
Alright, let’s get started. Gougères are all about butter, cheese, and eggs. I’m putting an Italian slant on a French pastry by substituting an aged Provolone for the more traditional Gruyere and adding rosemary.
Since I’m no Gougère expert, I looked to a Martha Stewart baking book for the basic guidelines. We start by combining the butter with water, salt, sugar, and black pepper in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Put it back on the heat and stir until the flour loses its raw floury taste and takes on a very light golden color. Yes, there will be a film on the bottom of the pan. This is okay, if fact, Martha says we want this.
Remove from the heat and add your grated Provolone, a handful of Parmigiano, and finely minced rosemary. Stir until the cheese melts. If your kitchen starts to smell like you’re making home-made mac n’ cheese, you are on the right track.
Okay. Now toss your gooey, cheesy dough ball in the mixer and mix for a minute or 2 to cool it down so things won’t go terribly, horribly wrong when you add the eggs. The eggs get added, one at a time, and mixed until the dough is thick, smooth, and shiny.
Spoon dough into a pastry bag and pipe round puffs on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Martha wants us to stencil 1 1/2 inch circles to keep the finished product perfectly uniform, but I say we freestyle it. We find beauty in slight imperfections, right?
- ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 1½ tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- ¼ tsp. or more Black Pepper, freshly ground
- ¼ tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
- 1½ c. Grated Aged Provolone Cheese
- ½ c. Grated Parmesan, divided
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
- 4 Eggs
- Preheat oven to 425°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 c. water with butter, salt, sugar, pepper, and nutmeg. Place over medium-high heat and and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until it is completely combined.
- Place pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the the dough does not stick to the sides of the pan, darkens slightly, and leaves a film on the bottom of the pan, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Provolone, ¼ c. Parmesan, and rosemary. Stir until cheese has melted.
- Transfer dough into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix for a minute or 2 until the dough has cooled slightly. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. When the eggs have been incorporated, the dough should be smooth, shiny, and quite thick.
- Transfer dough into a pastry bag (no tip needed) and pipe 1 inch circular "puffs" onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.