Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cheese Balls

Now that Halloween is over and it's officially Dia de los Muertos (buy my Juana necklace here), I hope that you've got your New Year's Eve outfit picked out because I'm pretty sure that I just saw some Valentine's Day crap in the stores. Forget about Christmas. I think they've been playing holiday tunes since August. But in case you are planning a few parties between now and next year, there is nothing more deliciously satisfying than some fresh out of the oven cheesy gougères. A cheese puff made from a dough not unlike that of cream puffs or profiteroles, gougères are the perfect savory snack with a glass of wine or cocktail before dinner. Chad and I actually made them on Halloween before we served an eight pound pork butt, but that's another post. Yes, it would be best to make these à la minute, but you can bake them off and then just quickly reheat as your guests are arriving. You're welcome.

(From Terrance Brennan)

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk plus extra for brushing
1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground white pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyère plus extra for garnish
Coarse sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

2. Bring the butter, milk, 1/4 cup water, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and baking powder. Stir well, and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Place the cheese and the mixture in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, and beat until just warm. Add the eggs slowly as the mixer runs, until the dough is smooth and shiny. (Alternatively, stir to cool by hand and beat in eggs with a wooden spoon.) Transfer to a pastry bag, and pipe in 1-inch mounds using a No. 4 tip, or drop with a teaspoon, on a sheet pan lined with parchment. (At this stage, the gougères can be frozen and then stored in a plastic bag. They do not have to be thawed before baking, but 11/2 to 2 minutes should be added to the cooking time.) Brush with milk, and sprinkle with cheese and sea salt.

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; when puffs are golden brown, reduce to 375˚F and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes about 32. (The goug
ères may be reheated.)


thecatskillkiwi said...

OMG I love these!!

WendyB said...

I hope dinner was good. So bummed to miss it :-(

Tina said...

Wendy, remind me to tell you about my sighting/embarrassing encounter!

Toni - ME TOO!

stacy said...

8 pound pork butt! Hehehe.
I'm such an adolescent!
And anything with cheese... yum!