For this month’s Recipes to Rival we were charged to make 2 out of 3 appetizers. I selected to make the Gruyere Cheese Gougeres and the Bleu Cheese Walnut & Pear Crostinis.
(Copyright ‘The French Laundry Cookbook’ By Thomas Keller, November, 1999)
Makes about 4 dozen gougères
- 1 cup water
- 7 tablespoons (3-1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- 1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 4 to 5 large eggs
- 1-1/4 cups grated Gruyère (5 ounces)
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (see Sources) or parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add all the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated (if the ball forms more quickly, continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes).
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and beat for about 30 seconds at medium speed to cool slightly.
- Add 4 eggs and continue to mix until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture. Stop the machine and lift up the beater to check the consistency of the batter. The batter in the mixing bowl should form a peak with a tip that falls over. If it is too stiff, beat in the white of the remaining egg. Check again and, if necessary, add the yolk.
- Finally, mix in 3/4 cup of the Gruyère and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain pastry tip with the gougère batter. Pipe the batter into 1-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the gougères as the mixture will spread during baking. Sprinkle the top of each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they puff and hold their shape.
- Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. And bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. When the gougères are done, they should be a light golden brown color. When you break one open, it should be hollow; the inside should be cooked but still slightly moist. Remove the pans from the oven and serve the gougères while hot.
Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut Crostini
- a baguette, thinly sliced about ½ inch each
- olive oil
- mascarpone, for spreading (optional)
- any type of bleu cheese (gorgonzola, Roquefort, stilton), thinly sliced, or crumbled
- freshly hulled walnuts
- a few pears, peeled and sliced into small cubes
1. Brush your bread slices with olive oil, line on a baking sheet, then toast in a hot oven for a few minutes until browned and crispy. You can broil them as well, if you prefer.
2. Remove from heat and spread each toast with some mascarpone.
3. Lay bleu cheese slices, or spread some crumbles, on each toast and add walnut pieces on top. Return to a 375-400°F oven for a few minutes, just until the cheese is melted.
4. When the cheese is nicely melted, take the crostinis out of the oven and top with a few cubes of pear. Serve soon after.