Gourgères for the Oscars

/ Monday, February 23, 2009

I dream in butter & cream
Ina, Ina, Ina...this past weekend was a Barefoot Contessa love fest to say the very least. The adorable Lee hosted an Oscar party Sunday night for some of our closest friends. In typical fashion, Lee was able to inject such glamour into the evening from her party dress & rockin' tights to the soft-hard beverage bar & trays of snacks.

Since I feel naked if I show up to a party without food, it needed to bring some bites as well. I hauled a bunch of pepper jelly tarts uptown along with an entire load of Ina Garten's Gourgères. What a treat!

For those of you who don't know, Gourgeres are essentially cheese puffs. Cheese puffs sound unappetizing to me. The official name for these light, butter, cheesy snacks is Gourgeres. What do Gourgeres and Cream Puffs have in common? They're made out of the same dough! (kind of) Both cheese puffs & cream puffs are made with a dough called Pâte à choux or cabbage paste. No worries, there was never any cabbage in these babies. The French called this dough cabbage paste because they were originally baked in a way that resembled the cabbage plant. This versatile dough is typically made with only butter, milk, flour and eggs. It may be surprising to see these puff so...well puffy...with out any leavening. The puffiness is actually caused by high moisture content not baking powder,baking soda or egg whites. The same dough can also make beignets, french doughnuts, if you fry the dough instead of baking it. Look, you've learned something today!

What makes gourgeres my favorite pate a choux treat is cheese, cheese and more cheese. After cooking the dough in a sauce pan, parmesan and (normally) gruyere are mixed in off of the heat. I chose to use a 3 cheese blend of Asiago, Fontina & something else (I'll have to go look) from Whole Foods. I love cheese that are a bit more sharp than gruyere so that's where that decision came from. Ina's recipe is very comprehensive. If you don't have a pastry bag, use a zip lock with one tip snipped (ouch!) Something else about Ina's recipe that is unique is that she uses a food processor to incorporate the eggs & cheese into the dough. Trust me, it makes like 400x's easier...unless you have bulging muscles because you swim at Palladium & play racket ball everyday.

Ina Garten's Gourgères from Barefoot In Paris

1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I used a generous 1/4 teaspoon)
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup AP flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cups grated Gruyere, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, for egg wash

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
2. In a sauce pan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper & nutmeg over medium heat
until scalded.
3. Add the flour all at once and beat it in vigorously with a wooden spoon
until the mixture comes together.
4. Cook stirring constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin
to coat the bottom of the pan.
5. Dump the hot dough into a food processor and immediately pulse in the eggs & cheese
until incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.
6. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag (or snipped ziplock). Pipe 1.25 inch wide by .75 inch tall
mounds onto the baking sheet.
7. With a wet finger lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff.
8. Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with extra cheese.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the puffs are golden brown outside but still soft inside.

Enjoy tout le monde!

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