All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.

2013-01-10

Gujeeru / gougère

Cheese puffs, anyone? A great appetizer and snack for wine imbibers and milk drinkers alike. Gougère also freezes well, making it a convenient party and potluck food.



<Ingredients>

(Makes 24-30 puffs)

2 large eggs (130 g including shells in photo; see note below)
1 egg (for eggwash)                    
120 cc milk (or water, or in combination)
55 g unsalted butter
60 g flour
Pinch salt, black pepper and nutmeg
40 g gruyère cheese


<Directions>
1.
Heat oven to 425F (220C).

2.

Beat two eggs, and grate cheese.
Save 1-1 1/2 tbsp grated cheese for topping (in a small bowl in photo).


3.

In a pot, put milk, butter cut into small chunks, salt, black pepper and nutmeg, and bring to boil on medium to medium high heat.



4.

When butter-milk mixture bubbles and boils, remove from heat, sift flour in at once, and quickly mix with spatula.

Once flour is incorporated, put the pot back on stove on low heat, and mix the dough with a spatula for a few minutes until it starts to stick to the bottom and make a whitish film.

Transfer the dough to a bowl.


5.

Add a somewhat large amount of beaten egg to cool the dough, mix well, then add a smaller amount. 
Consistency of the dough should be about thick pancake batter.

Once all egg is incorporated, add cheese, and mix well.


6.

Put the dough in a pastry bag, and pipe 2-3 cm mounds on a silicon-mat-lined baking sheet.


7.

Wet your finger, and lightly press the top of each mound.
Brush the tops with beaten egg (eggwash), and sprinkle some grated cheese. 

Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
Ready to serve.


8.

If serving later, cool on a wire rack.

To freeze, place puffs on a metal baking sheet, and put in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a container or plastic bag, and keep in the freezer.

When serving, heat up in oven (390-425 F/200-220 C) for five minutes (microwaving makes them gooey).


<Notes>
  • If your eggs do not come with size label -- egg size at our farmers’ market and grocery store varies by time -- weigh them (in shells) and figure out the amount of the remaining ingredients. The volume of milk can be as much as the egg weight (I could use up to 130cc milk above, for example). The weight of flour is half that of eggs, and butter is slightly less than the flour.
  • Cheese put in the dough (pâte à choux) can be finely chopped instead of grated.
  • Eggwash and cheese topping are both optional. Eggwash gives glossy look.
  • If using water only, the finished color becomes slightly paler, and it tastes a bit lighter (but the difference is basically unnoticeable).
  • Butter is cut into small pieces so that they melt quickly as you heat up the milk.
  • Make sure the butter-milk mixture boils vigorously before removing from heat in order to prevent glutton formation; this makes for a puffy outcome.
  • In Process 7, instead of pressing down with a wet finger and brushing with eggwash, you can dip a fork in the eggwash and gently press the top of each mound.
  • When puffs are used as cases for mini veggie/seafood/chicken/ham salad, reduce the amount of cheese in the dough to 30g or less. It still gives enough cheese flavor without overwhelming the flavors of other ingredients in the salad.
  • When taking frozen or chilled puffs somewhere, line a container with paper towels.  The paper towels will absorb any moisture that forms from the temperature difference, keeping the surface of puffs crispy.
  • If you are not familiar with a pastry bag, two spoons would work.

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