Cheese gougères (cheese puffs)

Cheese gougères
Cheese gougères

So this is a bit off curriculum (not non-laminated viennoiserie this weekend) but it was my friend’s wedding celebration on Saturday night and I was on co-catering duties.

These friends, who I go back about 18 years with, got married in Canada a couple of months back but many of us were unable to attend.

So the celebration was a casual cocktail party for everyone to have a chance to congratulate the couple and hear about the Las Vegas stag/hen’s, the Canadian wedding and the honeymoon that stretched from Barcelona to Santorini to Sri Lanka.

Each of the three co-caterers were tasked with making three canapés – two savoury and one sweet. I went for cheese gougères, salmon tartare and vanilla cupcakes.

The gougères always go down a treat and this time was no exception. They are basically a choux dough with grated cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg added. What’s not to love?

You can use any time of cheese and traditionally you’d expect to see French varieties such as Gruyère but I like the flavour of parmesan.

I’ll be honest and say that I never get the usual rise out of my gougères like I get with regular choux buns and I’m assuming that the cheese inhibits the rise.

However, they taste absolutely delicious – crispy, cheesy outside and soft airy inside.

Cheese gougères

1 portion choux dough
120g grated parmesan cheese
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Make the choux dough as per the instructions, then add around 3/4 of the grated cheese, the cayenne pepper and the nutmeg.

Gently fold through the mix without overworking.

Pipe into small moulds, then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese and cook for 15-20 minutes.

As always, make a small incision in the base as they cool to keep them crisp.

Note – you can fill the buns with a range of savoury mousses, cheese sauces or duxelles for extra flavour.

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