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A Gougere can be made in the form of one large ring or in small bite-sized puffs.  ‘Puffs’ is the right word to describe the little ones because Gougeres of any size are made from the same basic dough as cream puffs.  The key to this simple puff paste is cooking the flour and butter mixture just until it forms a ball and then, off the burner, adding the eggs one at a time and beating in each one completely before adding the next.  Having done these two things, Gougeres pretty much take care of themselves:  they will rise and puff and be delicious with no particular effort on the cook’s part. 

Timing Gougeres to serve straight from the oven is not difficult, and they reheat very well.  However, if they are traveling–for example, to a picnic–they will also be excellent as they are.

Gougeres are accomodating in terms of what is put in them, too.  Fol Epi Gougeres are made with the cheese by that name.  Fol Epi translates ‘wild wheat stalk’ and an image of the plant is imprinted on the rind–which is made from a wheat base and dusted with toasted wheat flour.  Fol Epi has a milder flavour than Emmental.  If, however you want to use another cheese, Gougeres are not finicky.  Gruyere, Comte or Emmental are fine substitutions.  Some people even make them with Cheddar.

Petites Gougeres Fol Epi ~ Little Fol Epi Cheese Puffs (makes about 24)

Ingredients:

  • 6 and 1/2 ounces of Fol Epi cheese (or another cheese such as Comte, Gruyere, or Emmental) grated and divided into two parts:  this amount of grated cheese poured into a liquid measuring cup equals about 2 cups
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/8 cup of flour
  • 200 milliliters (or 7 ounces) of water:  this recipe is adapted from one using metric units and does not convert easily to ‘cup’ measures.  However, 7 ounces measured in a liquid measuring cup will be the right amount
  • 1 and 3/4 ounces of butter (or 3 and 1/2 Tablespoons), cut into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 3 dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped and divided in half

Equipment:

  • a heavy pot or casserole
  • a wooden spoon
  • a baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • a small ice cream or cookie scoop, or a Tablespoon for dropping balls of the dough on the baking sheet

1.  Streak the baking sheet with butter and line it with a piece of parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2.  Pour the water into the pot and add the salt and butter cut into pieces.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

3.  Add the flour all at once and stir until a ball forms that will pull away from the sides of the pot:

4.  Take the pot off the burner, crack an egg into the pot of dough and stir with the wooden spoon until the egg is completely combined with the flour and butter ball:

Add the second egg and combine it.  Then add the third egg and mix it in well:

5.  Add half the grated cheese, the dried tomatoes and half of the rosemary and stir them into the puff paste:

6.  With a small scoop or a Tablespoon, place small mounds of the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle them with the rest of the cheese and rosemary and grind some black pepper over them:

7.  Bake the Gougeres for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden.  Cool them for a few minutes before serving or reheat them a minute or two if they aren’t being eaten right away:

A Note:  These little cheese puffs are part of the Occasional Menu Elevenses for Ladies.  They are good as an hors d’oeuvre, too–or to take on a picnic to eat with slices of a sausage or salami.

A Second Note:  This recipe was adapted from one on the website of iledefrancecheese, which is a source of much good information about French cheeses and how to use them.  

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

  

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