It's time for yet another Baking Partner Challenge. This time it was to learn to prepare Pâte à choux - the light French pastry dough, which is used to make sweet and savory delicacies. The challenge was to make Chocolate Eclairs or French Gougère or both using Pâte à choux. I was in deep confusion on which one to choose to bake this time & the problem was I have not had both before, so it was kinda difficult to decide.. If time had permitted, I would have done both. After much thought & research I zeroed in on the savory Gougère a.k.a the Cheese Puff.
So foremost, a small note which I had gathered on the pastry dough & the savory appetizer, before I take off on the recipe. Gougères are made all over France though they are said to have originated from Burgandy. They are small & light on the outside and soft, eggy & cheesy on the middle or inside. These puffs are best served warm & usually as an accompaniment to Wine. Some like to fill them up with some stuffing or sandwich them with ham. I personally enjoyed having them with Nutella (Nugatti) ;) And you must be wondering what's with the name 'The French Laundry's Gougère', it's nothing else but Thomas Keller's Michelin 3-star restaurant 'The French Laundry' in California. There these famous little Gougère appetizers are served with wine.
And talking about pâte à choux, here the dough is cooked first before baked. That's instead of using a raising agent it uses the heat from cooking the dough to puff the pastry. Also cooking the dough dries it out a bit & makes it easier to absorb the eggs. And while baking it uses two different temperature that allows it to first puff and then dry into crispy little delights. So that's a lot of information for now I guess, so quick into the recipe ..
Recipe Source: Adapted from Bouchon Bakery Book
Makes: 30 bites
Preparation Time: 20 minutesBaking Time: 30 minutes
|Water||-||½ cup + 1 ½ tbsp|
|Butter - Unsalted||-||4.5 tbsp|
|Kosher Salt||-||½ tsp|
|Freshly ground pepper||-||¼ tsp|
|All purpose flour||-||½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp|
|Eggs||-||150 gm / 2 large nos|
|Gruyere Cheese (Aged & shredded||-||scant 1 cup|
- Preheat the oven at 220 degrees for 10 minutes
- In a saucepan, combine water, butter, salt & pepper and place over medium heat and stir until the butter is melted
- Increase heat to medium high once the butter has melted. Then bring to simmer and remove from fire
- Using a wooden spatula stir in the flour for about 2 minutes until it has a paste like consistency
- Now place this saucepan again over medium-high heat and stir rapidly for 1 minute, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean. Remove from fire
- The dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry
- Now beat in the eggs, ONE AT A TIME, beating until each addition is completely absorbed by the dough. Use only large eggs not extra-large or jumbo or small as this may cause the puff to be too liquidy or be under-baked
- Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl pulled with the spatula but immediately grabs back on again. When the dough is lifted, it should form a bird's peak- it should hold it's shape and turn down on itself but not break off
- Now add the cheese and mix to incorporate
- In a baking tray place the baking sheet and take a tablespoon of the dough & drop on into the baking sheet with a distance of at least 1 ½ inches in between each drop. Use wet fingers to smooth the surface of each drop
- Bake for 10 minutes and then turn down the temperature to 190 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until they are completely golden brown. Make sure they bake until they’re completely browned up the sides so that they don’t sink when cooling