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Gruyère Cheese Gougères


Servings: About 4 dozen gougères

As many of you know, gougères are a classical Burgundian preparation often served at wine tastings in France. This recipe comes from The French Laundry Cookbook and the wonderful work of Thomas Keller. The puffs are made from a savory pâte á choux, or cream puff dough-flavored with Gruyère,which gives these appetizers a savory richness that plays off the Pinot Noir well. They are best served hot out of the oven with a glass of Promenade Iprima Pinot Noir. I find that adding a pinch of cayenne can brighten the intensity of the cheese.

1 cup water
7 tablespoons (3-1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of sugar
1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
1-1/4 cups grated Gruyère (5 ounces)
Freshly ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add all the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated (if the ball forms more quickly, continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes). This will cook the flour enough so that it doesn't leave that "floury" taste to the finished product, and also bond the ingredients so your gougères will puff nicely.

3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 30 seconds at medium speed to cool slightly. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture. Stop the machine and lift up the beater to check the consistency of the batter. It should form a peak with a tip that falls over. If it is too stiff, beat in the white of the remaining egg. Check again and, if necessary, add the yolk. Finally, mix in 3/4 cup of the Gruyère and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.

4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain pastry tip with the gougère batter. Pipe the batter into 1-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the gougères as the mixture will spread during baking. Sprinkle the top of each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they puff and hold their shape. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. And bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. When the gougères are done, they should be a light golden brown color. When you break one open, it should be hollow; the inside should be cooked but still slightly moist. Remove the pans from the oven and serve the gougères while hot.


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