Hello, Miss Cheesemongerites! This week, I have a délicieux recipe for you. My good friend Megan, user experience entrepreneur by day and extraordinary baker by night, and I got together to prepare a couple of recipes for your (or my) next dinner party. Together, using some of the Sartori Sarvecchio Parmesan I had left over from last week’s tasting, we made fluffy, cheesy gougères.
Makes about 3 dozen
- 1 cup cold water
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour (dipped and leveled)
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 8 oz. grated cheese (I used Sartori’s Sarvecchio Parmesan. You could substitute with Gruyère, Comte, or Piave, for instance!)
- Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten, with a pinch of salt
In a saucepan, add the water, butter, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. The butter should be melting as the water reaches a boil. (Megan told me that this method is to make sure we don’t lose too much water to evaporation before the butter melt!)
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Grate your cheese as finely as possible. I used the smallest size teeth on my box grater.
When the butter is melted, and the water is boiling, remove the pan from heat, and add all of the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it resembles mashed potatoes. Bring the mixture to medium heat on the stove again, and alternatingly, stir, then flatten across the bottom, about five minutes. This is to dry out the dough a bit. You’ll know the dough is dry enough when the butter forms small beads all over the dough’s surface. If you handle a small bead of it between your fingers, they should feel a little greasy.
Incorporating the eggs: If you’d like to transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, you can do that here. I incorporated the eggs in the pan, though. Add the beaten eggs one at a time, beating strongly with the wooden spoon. As you add the eggs, the dough will separate, but then cohere as you continue to beat. The dough should cling to the spoon and form a big ball. If after 4 eggs, this hasn’t happened, it is possible you’ll need to add some more egg. Megan and I wound up using 4.5 eggs. You can tell when the dough is ready when you take a bead of it between your fingers, press, pull apart, and see the dough form a little “beak” (look at the photo below!).
Fold the grated cheese into the dough.
If you’re like me, and you don’t bake often, you can use a plastic Zip-Loc bag with a corner cut off to pipe the dough into little balls (about 1 tablespoon in size, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Another way to form the gougères is with two tablespoons. Spoon one spoonful of dough, and use the second spoon to smooth the ball and drop it onto the baking rack. Or, if you’re like Megan, use your pastry bag and a star tip! Space them out (about 2 inches between puffs) because they will expand. Round out any peaks or odd corners. Brush the tops with the egg wash mixture.
Put the gougères into the oven, and immediately turn down the heat to 375° F. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pans front to back, and top to bottom. Bake for several more minutes (I baked mine for about 6 more minutes). Gougères are done when they are puffy, firm, and golden.
I dare you to wait until they are at room temperature to eat them! They also taste wonderful fresh from the oven. Megan and I gobbled everything up alarmingly quickly, although we remembered to set a couple aside for our respective spouses.
Happy baking! Thank you Megan!
If you want to do more baking with dairy, try this ricotta cake cookie recipe!