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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leave It To The French...............

To come up with an hors d'oeuvre that's delicious and easy to make, but sounds like you'd need to go to Le Cordon Bleu to learn how. Gougeres (pronounced goo-ZHAIR), or cheese puffs commonly served with drinks before dinner, are addictive and go especially well with Champagne.

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup of milk, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
2 pinches cayenne
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup grated Gruyere, plus 3 Tablespoons
3 eggs, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Put butter 1/4 cup milk, teaspoon of salt and cayenne in a 2 quart sauce pot, bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder, and gradually add the flour mixture to the liquid.
Remove from heat. Stir well with a wooden spoon and return to the stove. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough pulls away from from the sides of the pot, a few minutes.
3. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 3/4 cup Gruyere and paddle on low until just warm, about 2 minutes.
4. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and add the eggs one at a time. Continue to mix the dough until it is smooth and shiny (about 10 minutes). Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a #6 tip (an opening about the size of a nickel). Pipe the dough into 1 inch rounds, each 1/2 inch high. Allow 1/2 inch of space between puffs. Each baking sheet should have 25-28 gougeres. Brush them with the remaining 2 Tablespoons milk. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 Tablespoons Gruyere and 1 teaspoon sea salt.
6. Place the baking sheets in the oven, and bake for 5 minutes. Turn the trays 180 degrees and continue to bake until the gougeres take on a deep golden brown color, approximately 7-10 minutes.
Makes 50-55 gougeres.

After baking the puffs can be halved crosswise and stuffed with soft cheeses (goat cheese or any cheese spread).
You can refrigerate dough for 3 days or freeze piped dough on a baking sheet inside a plastic bag.