from Food & Wine, April 2008
Makes 30 gougères
Guests at Bar Boulud are greeted with these golden French cheese puffs, with grated Gruyère cheese and the mild Basque pepper Piment d’Espelette. Almost twice the size of ordinary gougères, they’re a bit like crispy, cheesy, slightly spicy popovers. Burgundian white wines pair well with these rich cheese puffs, but they can also be expensive. To find bargains, look to the less well-known southern part of Burgundy, the Mâcon. Bar Boulud wine director Daniel Johnnes suggests the spicy 2006 Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine; another option is the citrusy 2006 Verget Mâcon-Villages.
1 cup milk
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
4 large eggs
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
Fleur de sel and cracked black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the water, butter and salt; bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the flour all at once with the Piment d’Espelette and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the heat to low, return the saucepan to the burner and cook the gougère dough, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the side of the pan, about 8 minutes.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the dough cools slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring briskly between additions to thoroughly incorporate each egg.
3. Drop 3-tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Top each round with 1 tablespoon of cheese; sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
4. Bake the gougères for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for 30 minutes longer, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until the gougères are puffed and browned. Turn off the oven, propping the door ajar with a wooden spoon. Let the gougères rest in the oven for about 30 minutes longer, until crisp on the outside but still steamy within. Serve warm or at room temperature.
MAKE AHEAD The gougères can be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes.