Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heavenly Bites

The center picture shows some remnants of Fall color.

Looking for a do-ahead appetizer that tastes heavenly and looks like you spent a long time making it? Consider gougeres. It is a cheesy two bite savory French cream puff that melts in your mouth. And believe me it is hard to stop at one. Gougeres date back to the 18th century and are said to come from Burgundy, a region in France. The miniature puff pastries are best served warm and are terrific with wine or champagne. Gougeres can be baked, then frozen in plastic bags for up to the month. When you are ready reheat Gougeres and place them frozen on the baking sheet at 325 for 5 minutes. They are rather addictive so make a large batch. It is easy to be creative with this appetizer by considering some of the following variations to replace Gruyere and mustard with:
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese and 2 TB. fresh chopped chives
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 TB. chopped Rosemary
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, zest of 1 lemon and chopped parsley
A tip to keep in mind for successful puff pastry is make sure to add eggs one at a time. Then thoroughly blend each egg into the dough before adding another egg.
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 4 eggs beaten (add eggs one at a time)
  • 1 -1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard or 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400 and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine butter, water and salt in medium saucepan over low heat
  • Stir until butter has melted bringing mixture to a boil
  • Remove pan and add flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a mass
  • Return pan to stove and over medium heat continue to beat the dough for another minute until a thin film appears on the bottom of the pan
  • Remove pan and put dough in a bowl and beat with a mixer for a minute to cool dough
  • Add each beaten eggs one at a time letting each addition be absorbed completely into the dough before adding the next one
  • Add 1 cup of the cheese, mustard, pepper and beat till blended
  • Drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper
  • Lightly brush each puff with egg white
  • Bake 20 minutes at 400 then reduce heat to 350 and bake 10 -15 minutes longer until they are golden brown
  • Immediately top each puff with remaining cheese

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