Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, having the day off is a great excuse to get friends and family together. We had a very ethnic potluck at my house that included dishes from Spain, India, France and even traditional American fare, albeit no turkey.
I greeted my guests with fresh, out of the oven cheese puffs, not the Brazilian pão de queijo which one of these days I will post a recipe, but the French kind, gougères.
Don’t let the French name scare you. These are extremely easy to make and, better yet, you can make the dough a day ahead, pipe onto baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and serve. And despite all this simplicity, I guarantee your guests will be impressed.
Gougères (Savory pâte à choux with cheese)
Slightly adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
Although these were good, next time I will add more cheese, salt and different spices. The original recipe asked for parmesan and gruyère but I used fresh grated Romano and Asiago, I am in favor of using what you have on hand and voilà, they turned out great. If you don’t have a pastry bag to pipe the dough, you can use a ziplock (seal and cut off small slit at corner). But if the idea of piping anything just terrifies you drop the dough using a spoon and then shape the puffs with damp fingers.
(Print this Recipe)
1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs + 1 egg (for egg wash)
½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment papper, and if you plan to bake the puffs right away, preheat oven to 425o F.
Heat milk, butter, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne to near boiling point. Add the flour and beat energetically with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough; keep stirring over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse with 4 eggs and cheeses until it is all incorporated forming a smooth and thick dough. Alternatively, beat the eggs and cheese into the dough by hand or using a mixer with paddle attachment.
Pipe tablespoon size mounds of dough onto lined baking sheets, and lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff with a wet finger. Brush the top of each puff lightly with a mixture of the remaining egg and a teaspoon of water. Sprinkle asiago on top, and bake for about 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
Make the dough the day before, pipe, brush with egg, wash and cover baking sheet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
Although I didn’t try, Ina Garten says that they can be frozen after baked, then thawed and when ready to serve reheat in 425o F oven for 5 minutes.
Can’t get any easier than that!