Gougères

These are high-class cheesy poofs, and very simple to make.

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 stick of butter (8 TBL) and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. When it comes to boil, dump in 1 cup of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the mass congeals into a smooth dough. Keep stirring for another minute and remove from heat. Transfer to a 2- or 3-quart mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, using a convection setting if available. One at a time, add 4 whole eggs. The mixture will look very gloppy each time you add an egg, but keep stirring until the egg is fully incorporated before you add the next one. Each successive egg will take a little longer to mix in fully. When it’s completely mixed, add 4 ounces of grated gruyere cheese, a little black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tube, or use a clean plastic bag that has a 1/2-inch diameter opening cut in one corner. Using a baking sheet covered with parchment paper pipe out generous teaspoon-sized balls, leaving an inch between them. (35 fit comfortably on a large baking sheet.) Use the back of a wet teaspoon to smooth down any points that are created when you piped them out. Place a bit of additional grated cheese atop each one. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden; if cooking unevenly, spin the tray around after 10 minutes. You may even decide to remove some from the oven and bake the rest longer. They really should look golden with nice brown highlights. I bake one tray at a time, just so I can pay attention to what’s going on, but the recipe will make 2 or 3 trays, depending on the size of the baking sheet you use.

While the gougeres can be served right away, you can also freeze or refrigerate them, once they cool, and reheat them for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. This recipe makes about 70 gougeres. (TIP: to freeze the gougeres, place them on a baking sheet in the freezer, so they aren’t touching. Once frozen, transfer to a bag or container.)

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