Cheesy Appetizer

Still need one more good recipe for your Superbowl party? Or just some great treats for yourself while you watch the game? I ran across these amazing gougeres (french cheese straw-like puffy pastry treats) on Design Sponge (top image). I tried them out yesterday (bottom image) and the result was fantastic! Make them bigger than the recipe says and don't add too much salt. They'll be nice and crunchy on the outside, but really soft on the inside. I've adjusted the recipe below from the DS Version to my preferences, but you should mess with it for your own tastes.

Makes about 4 dozen gougères
These are best served warm. If necessary, you can reheat them in a low oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Gruyère
  • freshly ground white pepper for seasoning
1. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt and to a boil. Add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to medium and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated. Continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes to dry the mixture more. Beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture. If it is too stiff, add another egg. The dough should be shiny and just fall from the spoon. Mix in 3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper. Don't use too much salt here; and don't be afraid of the pepper.
3. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch pastry tip with the gougère batter. Pipe into 1-tablespoon-sized rounds on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the gougères, as the mixture will spread during baking. [Laura's Note: the pastry bag is unnecessary and even cumbersome. It's much easier and faster to just make the rounds with your hands. Don't make them too perfect though! They look better if they're a little misshapen.]
4. Top each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they puff a little bit and hold their shape. Reduce the heat to 350º 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. Let the gourgères cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet and serve warm.

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