Dorie Greenspan’s Gougeres

I picked up Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” cookbook on a whim, partially to get a better hold of what french cooking is through the eyes of an accomplished cook and baker, and because I loved the way she wrote her recipes. Her introduction to a recipe often begins with where and when she first tasted the dish and always has good side notes on how to add or subtract ingredients to change up the recipe, suggestions on what to serve with it, and how to store (which I so appreciate because I am still in the dark about how to keep most perishables). Her recipe writing is the style I love, that anticipates a little fear half-way through (“Is this right?!”) and with detail that includes what the texture should be like along the way, and what to look for to keep on course.

This recipe for Gougeres is the first of the book, under “Nibbles and Hors d’oeuvres” and if you’re going to need a simple side carb for tomorrow’s holiday meal, I would recommend this one. It’s a flaky biscuit meets popover with the bite of cheese. I made the whole batch and froze what I didn’t need in a plastic bag and found that when I’m on my own for a meal, popping in a few of these for 12 minutes while soup heats (or cottage cheese is poured in a bowl), makes an easy and tasty addition.

Gougeres
Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyere or cheddar

Directions:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust with form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring – with vigor – for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be concerned f the dough separates – by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.

Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougere, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougeres are golden, firm and yes, puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm or transfer the pans to racks to cool.

She recommends kir, champagne or white wine as a typical beverage served alongside when in Burgundy, where this is always served at restaurants. To freeze and store, form the mounds on a baking sheets and when they are solid, lift them from the [parchment or silpat], place in airtight plastic bags, and freeze.

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