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Gougères: French Style Gruyère Cheese & Thyme Puffs



Gougères are quite simply the perfect little bites for the holidays. They are delicous, feathery-light and you can eat a few without getting stuffed. So these should absolutely be list of holiday appetizers.


For someone who can eat her weight in bread and clearly can’t afford to (think human pillsbury dough-girl), 5 little morsels of these delicious puffs at just about 60 calories are the way to go!


I love making a batch of these for a holiday gathering or just a weekend breakfast with eggs and bacon.


Like all seemingly simple dishes, they have a technique to them and demand you follow the instructions to the letter, for fabulous results. If you don’t, chances are you’ll end up with a runny batter (instead of dough) and have to call them the latest fashion in cheese crackers. Hey, works for me!


The basis of these lovelies is simple:

Grate some fabulous Swiss Gruyere cheese before you get started on the stove. If you don’t too much water would have evaporated while you get your act together.


Once you’ve done so,

European butter, water, smoked paprika and salt come together to a simmer and as soon as the butter melts, vigorously stir in flour with a wooden spoon until a dough ball is formed.

Immediately remove to a Pyrex bowl to cool – slap it around to release steam. Slowly add in whisked eggs, incorporating with a immersion stand blender stick.


Stir in cheese and fresh thyme. Using a zip-loc bag pipe into small cherry tomato mounds on baking sheet and voilà!


Bake as per instructions and you have some fab cheese puffs that look like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen while in  reality  it’s taken all of 20 minutes. These are best served warm so pipe onto sheet and pop into the oven only when guests arrive and drinks are served.


Also, if this is your first time making these, use an aged cheese and use only LARGE eggs not extra large. Moisture is not your friend you see and since the extra large eggs have a higher water content it may result in deflated puffs which have great personality and you may be able to get away with provided you serve with Parisienne flair.


As long winded as my description may be, they come together in a jiffy and the only problem you’ll have when they come out of the oven is stopping eating at 1 or 2 or 20.


Sorry guests, none left for you!


warmly,

Devaki



Recipe for

Gougères: French Style Gruyère Cheese & Thyme Puffs

Makes 30 bite sized puffs


Shopping List:

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp. European butter, unsalted - cut into chunks

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs (NOT extra-large)

2 tsp (or more) fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup + ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese – reserved separately


Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.


Spray a 9" x 11" baking pan with some non-stick baking spray and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The spray will help the paper stick to the pan flat.

Cheese: Grate and set aside near the stove.

Eggs: Crack eggs, discard shell and beat with a fork in a bowl.


Method:



Get a wooden spoon ready and have all the ingredients ready to go before you head for the stove!

Heat the water, butter, salt, and smoked paprika in a saucepan until the butter is melted.




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 empty into a Pyrex mixing bowl to cool slightly.


Add ½ the eggs &  use an electric immersion stand mixer to combine, adding the eggs a little at a time as you go until all the eggs are thoroughly mixed into the flour.

The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. Add ½ cup of the grated cheese and the thyme and stir until well-mixed.





Empty into the corner of a gallon zip-loc bag. Snip the end and make little dough balls onto the parchment sheet the size of a cherry tomatoes. Use a butter knife to snip the help portion.

Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, the pop the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.


Reduce the oven temperature to 375 deg. F.


Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until they are completely a golden brown.

Make ahead tips: The puffs are best served warm, so pipe the gougères on baking sheets and cook right before your guests arrive.


Enjoy!




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