Monday, March 22, 2010

Gougères (Cheese Puffs)

If I may be so bold, I would like to dispel what seems to be a common myth, that Champagne is for special occasions only. Au contraire! Life is a celebration everyday and although I am not saying one should drink Champagne when they get up in the morning to celebrate the sun rising, I do fully advocate drinking it just as much if not more than you would any other bottle of wine. In my mind, we only live once and the thought of relegating such a fabulous drink to weddings and New Year's is depressing! Buy it with reckless abandon and drink to celebrate that you are living a life that offers so many amazing pleasures and opportunities to consume delicious food and drink, hear the sweet laughter of children, feel the satisfaction of fulfilling work and to experience the divine bliss of being in love. On a side note, these are the basic themes of this blog because they are what I appreciate most in this crazy world.

Now that you have bought out Binny's, may I suggest a wonderful appetizer to accompany that fabulous bubbly you have sitting next to you. I believe that it is common knowledge that Champagne and salty and/or greasy food is about the best food/drink combination ever! On my trips to Paris, I love to do as the French do and order Champagne with an omelet or steak frites, sit in a sidewalk cafe and watch the beautiful people walk by which, in Paris, there is no shortage. When I am not moonlighting in the city of light, I love to make Gougères which, just as a side note, I cannot pronounce despite my best efforts. For those as verbally challenged as I am, feel free to refer to these little treats as cheese puffs. The combination of salt, butter and cheese would go well with just about any drink but have it with Champagne and the combination is addictive. Enjoy! AJ

Recipe adapted from the Christmas Card sent from The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA.


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup whole milk
3 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ounce Swiss cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 ounce gruyere cheese, grated (about 1/4 cups)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, black pepper and nutmeg and stir with a fork or whisk to combine.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, milk, butter and salt. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

Add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture and return to low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Allow it to cool for 5-7 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, beat the eggs into the dough until they are fully combined. (This will be quick but please beat rigorously). Fold in both of the grated cheeses.

Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe the dough into small balls, about the diameter of a quarter, 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave or oven.

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