It doesn’t take a Nora Ephron movie to figure out that the way to my heart is through my stomach. I’ve been hoping, for years, to receive a bouquet of rainbow chard instead of flowers. They’re beautiful, and then you get to EAT them. That’s major.
So it may not surprise you to hear that, rather than the tried and true chocolate, I’d much prefer to be wooed by cheese. Beemster Goat Gouda, Shropshire Blue, Humboldt Fog, L’enrobe…with the dried apricots, St. Nectaire, I’d rather open a heart-shaped box of these stinky morsels any day.
Gougeres are a great vehicle for cheesiness. They’re not hit-you-over-the-head cheesy. It’s a simple choux pastry, loaded up with cheese. They’re slightly crisp, pleasantly poofy, subtly eggy, studded with chives and topped with one last pinch of a sharp parmesan. They’re sexy. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, surely cheese is a close personal confidant.
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 c. water
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
6 Tbs. butter, cubed
1 c. AP flour
1 large pinch chives (optional but encouraged)
1 c. gruyere
grated parmesan, for topping
Assemble all mise en place before you begin making this recipe. You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip and 2 sheet trays lined with parchment paper. Make sure that your oven is preheated well to 425 degrees.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, bring water, butter, salt, and cayenne pepper to a boil. Add the flour, all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth mixture forms and pulls away from the edges of the pot.
Allow the mixture to cool just a bit, while continuing to stir. Add one egg. Stir well until the mixture returns to its former pasty consistency and does not appear ‘broken’ or ‘gloppy.’ Continue this process with each of the remaining eggs, one at a time. Add the chives and gruyere, and stir to distribute evenly.
Load your choux paste into the prepared pastry bag, and pipe onto sheet trays about an inch apart, in roughly the size of an eyeball. Sprinkle each gougere with a bit of the parmesan.
Bake gougeres at 425 for 15 minutes, and then turn the heat down to 375, and continue baking an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and commence to noshing.