(French Cheese Puffs)

These charming, little hors d’oeuvres are the perfect complement to a bottle of wine for a stay-at-home New Year’s Eve celebration. In Burgundy, where Gougeres (say goo-SHARE) originated, they are served warm or at room temperature, sometimes with soup or salad. Think of them as miniature popovers.

Gougeres are easy and inexpensive to make. I follow this recipe clipped in the 1990s from an early issue of Saveur, a food and travel magazine.

  • 8 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1½ cups grated Gruyere cheese
Silverbelle Sandy (Gilead SB Troop) has whipped up a batch of French Cheese Puffs to be ready for tomorrow night’s champagne

Combine butter, ½ cup of the milk, and the ½ cup of water in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; bring the mixture to a boil. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat.

Add the flour all at once, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a thick dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (1-2 minutes)

Return the pan to heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and let dough cool to room temperature.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated into the mixture and the dough is smooth after each addition. (Tip: Use large, not extra large, eggs. In this case bigger is not better.)

The batter will be slippery and a little hard to beat, but it will eventually absorb the eggs and become a thick, smooth, shiny dough.

Add one cup of the cheese and beat in until well combined.

Spoon tablespoon-size mounds of dough (I use a cookie scoop for uniformity.) on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, 1” apart.

Brush tops with the remaining ¼ cup milk, then sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of cheese.

Bake in 400’ preheated oven until Gougeres have doubled in size and are golden, 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 2-3 dozen, depending on the size.

Hunter Sooji gets ready to drop the ball on New Year’s Eve

Note: The recipe can be halved to make a smaller batch. Gougeres keep for days refrigerated.

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