Just Five: Gougères

122315_j5

 

Gougères (otherwise known as fancy French cheese puffs) are about the most retro, classic hors d'oeuvres you can name. Think Mad Men season three. Because this recipe involve making a pâte à choux, the intimidation factor is high. Trust me, it’s no biggie. The trick is to have all of your ingredients and tools assembled and ready to go; no scrambling around for a wooden spoon or getting out the mixer after the water starts boiling.

These are not “pretty,” but they are airy, eggy, cheesy bites of wonder. This recipe can easily be doubled, and if you are serving more than six people you should definitely double it. Mix me a martini and pass the olives: It’s Christmas Eve!

 

Gougères
30 puffs

½ cup water
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. chile powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp. minced fresh chives
¾ cup grated dry, aged cheese like a sharp cheddar or Parmesan

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter, chile powder and salt and heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest 1 minute.
• Scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed until the batter is smooth. Add the chives and all but 2 tablespoons cheese and mix until combined.
• Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag with a wide plain tip (or a freezer bag with a corner cut off) and pipe the dough onto the baking sheet into mounds just bit smaller than a golf ball, leaving a bit of space between each. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese on top of the dough balls
• Bake 8 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve warm.