Have lots of leftover little cheese nubbins? Make gougères. Not only are these bite sized savory pastries the perfect snack, they’re also easy to make and a great dumping ground for whatever you have languishing in your fridge.
For me, that meant a sad hunk of blue cheese and the remnants of a tub of grated parmesan. That’s about all that was in my fridge, so with just a few other staples I always have on hand (flour, some butter, and two eggs), I was able to bake up a batch of these babies in no time. And really, I mean no time.
Confession: I made these this morning and am posting about them now. That’s how fast these are.
Use whatever cheese, herbs, or spices you want to make the gougères your own. Get creative! The sky’s the limit here. Another fun fact: if you can nail the technique for making this pastry dough, called pâte à choux, you can also make eclairs, gnocchi à la Parisienne, profiteroles…the list goes on. One dough, endless recipes. Kind of amazing, huh?
Get the recipe and more photos, after the jump!
Blue Cheese + Parmesan Gougères
Adapted from David Lebovitz
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup finely crumbled blue cheese
1/8 – 1/4 cup grated parmesan
Prepare all the ingredients and have them ready to go. You will not want to be scrambling once you begin putting these together.
Preheat your oven to 425. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, butter, salt and pepper and heat over medium until the mixture is just simmering and the butter has just melted. Immediately dump in all the flour, and using a wooden spoon, start stirring the mixture vigorously, until it forms a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat and let sit for two minutes.
Transfer the dough ball to a glass bowl and crack in one egg. Begin mixing together (I alternate between a whisk and the wooden spoon to get things smooth). The mixture will look lumpy and very wet, then will smooth out and come together. Add in the second egg and repeat. If the dough seems a touch dry, add in a tiny bit of water to moisten. The dough should seem very thick and sticky. Mix in the blue cheese. (Note: you can do these steps with a stand mixer, but I think it’s just as easy to do it by hand)
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a round tip. Pipe the dough onto a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, making them about an inch or so wide. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tops of each, gently pressing down on any tips in the dough (so that they won’t burn). If you don’t have a pastry bag or tips, cut the end off a plastic freezer bag and pipe them out that way! Or, you can always use a couple spoons to shape the balls. They don’t have to be perfect.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of the oven to 375 and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven (mine runs a bit hot, so they were done faster).
Serve warm with a glass of white wine (or whatever your beverage of choice is) and enjoy!