Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mini Cheddar Gougéres

Gougéres are crunchy, fluffy mounds of savory choux pastry. Imagine a cream puff, but with a savory dough and no cream filling. They can be unfilled, as in this recipe, or filled with cheese or meat.

We adapted this recipe from here, changing it quite a bit. In our version, we miniaturize the puffs by piping them in teaspoon size. We use sharp cheddar and more of it. We also use a convection oven instead of a regular oven.

The result is faster baking time and more crunchy surface area. The bits of cheddar that make it to the outside crunch up nicely too.

They're typically served as hors d'oeuvres, but they also make for a nice snack while watching a movie at home.

Mini Cheddar Gougéres

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
Freshly ground salt, 2 turns
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper, 2 turns

Preheat convection oven to 375°F, convection bake setting.

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (We found this at Target next to the aluminium foil. They also had some in the baking section, but it was significantly more expensive and pre-cut into tiny sheets. Get the kind that's not pre-cut, and use large baking sheets.)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan at medium heat. As it melts, you can add the water, then the salt, and then the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon. When it melts all the way, keep stirring it frequently to keep it from burning. Bring it up to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the flour to the saucepan. Combine with the wooden spoon for 2 minutes. It will turn into a nice dough and start to dry out.

Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, and let it cool for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, whipping them frantically with the wooden spoon. Add the cheese and pepper, and mix until evenly combined.

Scrape the dough into a gallon-sized zip-lock bag with the wooden spoon. Cut off a corner and pipe teaspoon-sized mounds of dough onto the parchment paper, spaced an inch apart.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until light golden brown on the outsides.

The top ones were just put in. The bottom ones have just puffed but are still light-colored.

Serve immediately, while they're still piping hot.

We had leftovers, which we refrigerated overnight. The next day, we baked them at 375°F for 3-5 minutes, just to heat them up. They were very good, but not as great as when they were freshly baked.