Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cheddar + Dill Gougères

In addition to the gluten free cake I brought to the second meet up of ATXSwappers, I thought I’d also bring something for the flour eaters. So I whipped (actually, more like beat) up a batch of gougères.

I never cease to be amazed how something as simple as flour can be combined with a liquid to make so many myriad and delicious creations. These gougères are a perfect example of how flour and a few other humble ingredients chemically react to make something wondrous. Funny, I never knew those mystifying reactions I had to execute in Chem Lab during college would be good practice for my future baking efforts. If they had only taught Introduction to Chemistry thorough pastry and bread making, I feel sure my grade would have been much better.

Cheddar + Dill Gougères
adapted from Tartine

You can make gougères with any combination of cheese and herbs. You can also skip the herbs and just stick with cheese. Go wild! It’s hard to mess up gougères. I happen to particularly like a cheddar/dill combo. Also, I planted dill this fall and it’s now growing out of control so I was happy to put it to good use. I’ve made the gruyère/thyme version featured in the Tartine cookbook and they’re tasty as well. Gougères can be made as smaller, puff-like balls that are perfect for popping in your mouth and eating in one bite. For the swap, though, I wanted a larger, more substantially sized gougère. I’d say these were approximately biscuit sized. I baked them just before leaving for the swap from choux dough made a day ahead and piped out onto a baking sheet and then frozen overnight. My batch took forever and a day to bake completely (over an hour) and I’m sure this was due to the frozen dough. Don’t think I’ll try the freezer trick again.

Note: gougères really aren’t a good option for making ahead and transporting, to tell you the truth. They’re best strait from the oven. While they can be re-warmed, they don’t exactly retain the same wonderfully light airiness as when freshly baked. Of course, I never follow my own advice but you really should. Save this recipe to make when you’re having company and want to offer them a delicious starter or appetizer- they’re simple to make but the result (and taste) is pretty impressive.

Choux Pastry
1 1/4 c nonfat milk or water (or use 5 ounces whole milk + 5 ounces water)
10 T unsalted butter
1 t salt
1 c all purpose flour
5 large eggs
3/4 c cheddar cheese, grated
2 T fresh dill, minced

Topping
1 large egg
pinch salt
grated cheddar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
2. To make the choux, add milk and/or water, butter, and salt to a large saucepan and allow the butter to melt over medium heat. When melted, continue to heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir. Keep stirring continuously for approximately 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan.
3. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. When all eggs have been added, the mixture should be thick and smooth.
4. Using a rubber spatula, add grated cheddar and chopped dill to the dough by hand.
5. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with large plain tip (no. 8 or 10). Pipe two to three inch mounds onto the prepared baking sheet leaving approximately 1 inch between each mound.
6. For the topping, make an egg wash by whisking one egg with pinch of salt. Lightly brush the egg wash over each mound and sprinkle each with extra cheese.
7. Bake the gougères for 35-45 minutes until they have puffed up and are browned. Remove from the oven when done and place on a rack to cool just slightly before serving. Shortly after removing from the oven, be sure to poke a small hole in the side of each gougère to allow steam to escape. This will prevent them from collapsing (if making smaller gougères, this step isn’t necessary). Gougères are best served immediately but they can be re-warmed in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

10 comments:

  1. These gougères look extremely good. Your note says that they've been adapted from Tartine. Is that the bakery/bistro in the Mission in San Francisco? I have seen their cookbook but haven't really read through it. I love their bread, and if the line weren't so impossible all of the time would probably enjoy it more often.

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  2. Your gougères are stunning! Biscuit size--wow! Love that you used dill with the cheese. I bet the people at your swap were thrilled. I agree--they really are best eaten immediately. Gorgeous photos.

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  3. These are beautiful! I made them once before, but mine deflated almost immediately. Yours are perfect. Nice job!

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  4. Oopsy. That comment was from me, not Kirk. Sorry!

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  5. @Stevie- Yep, the cookbook author is Liz Pruitt, owner of Tartine Bakery. It's probably hands down my favorite cookbook and I bake from it often. Love the bakery as well but ywe, the lines can be a bit daunting. Of course the end result is alwys worth the wait!

    @Nina and Redmenace- Thanks ladies!

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  6. I know what you mean, baking to me, is kind of like magic. You stick some dough in the oven and then viola, yummy goodies. I recently made gougeres for the first time, it was much easier than I thought. Your ones look fantastic.
    *kisses* HH

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  7. Gourgeres and everything with choux pastry is like magic to me. I've made minis before, frozen them fully baked, and re-warmed directly from the freezer. They worked out pretty well, but so true that they're best warm from the oven first time around. Yours look delish!

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  8. Oh hai, gougères. Aren't you pretty. I am bookmarking you.

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  9. I have the book, and the recipe always catches my eye. Your rendition of the gougeres looks so good, and I bet the addition of dill really complements the cheddar...

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  10. Wow, your gougères look fabulous...I never tried to make them...will definitely give this a try...dill added sure sounds a great addition to cheese :-)

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