(A Lawrenceville take on French Gougeres)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- Large pinch of coarse salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large farm fresh eggs
- 3 1/2 ounces shredded Havilah cheese (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms (this is choux pastry); stir over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a bowl; let cool for 1 minute. Beat the eggs into the dough, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between each one. Add the cheese and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag or fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (or a gallon zip lock bag with one corner nipped off) and pipe tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat in a 350° oven until piping hot.
- When making the choux pastry, it is important to be sure that each egg is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Don’t worry if the batter separates and looks curdled at first. Keep beating, and it will come together nicely.
- This pastry can be sweet or savory. For savory, feel free to add your favorite fresh herbs or spices. Stuff with a soft chevre or our fromage blanc. For sweet, omit the cheese and add a bit of sugar, then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate. Stuff with a honeyed ricotta or fromage blanc. Or if you are feeling really decadent, make a larger puff, split and fill with Bent Spoon your favorite ice cream. (This choux pastry is the basis for cream puffs and eclairs. Let your imagination run wild!)
- Gougères freeze well. After baking, allow them to cool completely. Spread the puffs out on a baking sheet, cover the sheet with plastic wrap and freeze them until they are firm. Then store them in sturdy plastic bags for several months.
Adapted from an Alain Ducasse recipe.