In preparation for all of our holiday cooking up in Oregon, I have been gathering and testing recipes for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts. Although I have never been much of a baker, I decided to test out making some Thyme Gougéres. It sounded like a perfect addition to our Christmas day meal and, what made it even more appealing, was the fact it can be made ahead of time and simply reheated right before dinner. Well, with a few tweaks, the test was a success! These savory, cheesy puffs are airy, delicious, and extremely addictive. A must have on Christmas day.
Makes around 55
1/4 cup unsalted organic butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup organic all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Large pinch of course black pepper
1 1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese for topping
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
5 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan, bring the butter and 1 cup of water to a bowl. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat and add the flour, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir vigorously to blend. Return to medium heat and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball and a thin, dry film forms on bottom and sides of the pan, about a minute.
Transfer mixture to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add 1 1/4 cups Gruyere, Asiago, and 2 teaspoons thyme. Beat on low speed to blend. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, letting each one fully incorporate before the next is added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2” tip or a plastic bag with 1/2” cut diagonally from 1 corner. Pipe dough onto prepared baking sheets in 1”-1 1/4” rounds, spacing 1” apart. Whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water in a bowl to make an egg wash. Brush the egg lightly over the rounds. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere over the gougéres. Garnish each with a few thyme leaves.
NOTE: Can be made 1 month ahead. Let cool completely. Store airtight in the freezer. Rewarm in 325 degree oven until hot, 10-15 minutes.
(Adapted from “The New Formal”. bon appetit, October 2011: 82)