Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gougère- French Cheese Puff

recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
- makes about 30 bite size puffs

1/2 cup (125ml) water
3 tablespoons (40g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
big pinch of chile powder, or a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper*
1/2 cup (70g) flour
2 large eggs
12 chives, finely-minced (or 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme)**
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces, 90g) grated cheese***

*I used a Louisana Hot& Spicy dip mix in place of the chile powder :p
**Substituted with scallion
***Used shredded cheddar

1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
2. Heat the water, butter, salt, and chile or pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
3. Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t ‘cook.’ The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. (You can transfer the mixture to a bowl before adding to eggs to cool the dough, or do this step in a food processor or electric mixer, if you wish.)
5. Add about 3/4s of the grated cheese and the chives, and stir until well-mixed.
6. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato. (Or simply use two spoons to portion and drop the dough onto the baking sheet)
7. Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, the pop the baking sheet in the oven.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F (190C) and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown.

-For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.

"Gougère" just sounds looks so fancy! I don't even know how to pronounce it!

After reading through a couple blogs and going through a bunch of recipes, I decided on Lebovitz's. Don't exactly remember why. (Here's another one that I was looking at- from Saveur)

Anyways, they came out looking and smelling so good! Mine didn't come out too flavorful probably because I got lazy and just substituted most of the ingredients with what I had at home. And yeah, I think the type of cheese is crucial. I used a generic brand shredded cheddar that I had left over. And honestly, the cheesiness wasn't prominent at all. The crisp it gave the puff was nice though. Next time, I will definitely use the chile powder instead of the mix I had.

And also the inside of my puffs were not hollow enough? It was a little soggy.

Taste: 2.5 stars out of 5
Texture 2 stars + 1 star for the crisp out of 5

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