This is an exciting Friday for all “Doristas”, as we are starting another chapter in our effort to cook and learn with our oftentimes muse, Dorie Greenspan. Her latest cookbook Everyday Dorie, may be one of her best, certainly incredibly accessible, and if the reactions I’ve seen are typical, this will be not only a huge success, but one that is used on a daily basis. Such great recipes!!
It surely seems a very, very long time ago, that I decided to create a blog, and start the adventure that ended up with me blogging/cooking with a delightful number of friends cooking through Around My French Table in the group French Fridays with Dorie. We started with the very same type of recipe, and it does seriously feel like coming home. That was October 1, 2010. In some ways a lifetime ago, but in others, it was certainly just yesterday. There have been a lot of life events, both good and sad, over these years, but cooking for friends and family, trying something new, or just a new way of making something familiar, has created a bond between us, whether virtual or in person, that has lasted. Not the least of which is the opportunity to really enjoy cooking with one of the greats of our time, Dorie Greenspan. So many of our group have met her, and finally, I will next month at a book signing, but over all these years, she’s been a cheerleader for all of us, and the purveyor of wonderful recipes and insights. I know that most of our copies of AMFT are more than a bit dog-eared and worse for the wear!.
These gougères are a bit different. As Dorie mentions, she’s been making these for a couple of decades for guests, and is always adjusting her recipe and technique. But as always, most of the ingredients are in most of our pantrys, and so it’s a pretty accessible list for making the recipe. In this particular version, a little Dijon and some walnuts take these in a different direction. A little uncertainly, I wanted to follow this first recipe to the T.
The walnuts need to get toasted, and the milk, water, butter and salt are brought to the boil.
1 cup of flour is added at once, and the mixture (which is kind of a paste), is stirred (vigorously) to incorporate the flour and cook the mixture. There should be a film on the bottom of the pan. Then taken from the heat.
My mom and I made choux paste, or puffs often for parties when I was growing up. The eggs were always added to the pan, and incorporated by hand. Despite a lazy streak of not wanting to wash more dishes, I decided to take Dorie’s advice and use the stand mixer. 4 eggs are added one at a time, and finally an egg white. The mixture breaks a bit, but then comes back together to form a smooth dough.
Meanwhile, Gruyere cheese, some Dijon mustard, and the toasted walnuts (now finely chopped) are all prepped. Sadly, I can’t get Comte cheese locally – the cheese that I grew to adore earlier Dorie recipes – perhaps I’ll see about stocking up when I shop elsewhere. There are many possibilities for different cheeses, but this was the closest to what I was wanting.
These all get incorporated into the dough.
Again, taking a new suggestion from Dorie, I used a cookie scoop to make my puffs. It’s very simple, and does produce very consistent sizes. With the walnuts, in particular, it might be more difficult to pipe them out – this was really easy!
I also took Dorie’s advice for freezing many of the puffs (unbaked) for later. I will likely test them, and assuming success, will make some more for later on (Thanksgiving?). Once these are frozen completely, I’ll transfer to a freezer bag for simple storage – there really is nothing like having something on hand to make for a quick treat.
The puffs baked beautifully. About half way through, they get shifted around per the recipe. While I wasn’t making a couple of baking sheet’s worth at a time, it made sense, so just in case, I turned the pan around a the half-way point.
These were beautiful, and as terrific as advertised. Since I love, love a classic gougère, I was a little unsure about the mustard and walnuts – but as usual, they were brilliant additions. I loved just the hint of mustard, and the crunch of the walnuts a nice surprise.
I’m looking forward to cooking through this book. And one of the nice things in life is also to have family to cook with too. While I don’t know if they’ll join along with the CtBF crew, two of my nieces now have this book. I loved their reactions to ED. Whether through this family of friends, or separately, I’m looking forward to cooking with them. (technology challenges aside), it’s a pretty good reaction when you get this… just sayin’ 🙂
I’m so excited about this new chapter with the group, and new book. Maybe we’ll even have a few old and new friends join in the fun. Can’t wait!! You can find other posts about this recipe here. Enjoy!!
Excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
MY NEWEST GOUGERES
Makes about 60 gougères
Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them.
Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments to the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper and different spices.
The recipe is welcoming. This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise—walnuts.
1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar
2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.
Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (11⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.
STORING : The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.
Finally, not to be 100% outdone by my dear friend Mary, I had to add a wildlife photo of my own – taken at my desk this morning, unfortunately not quick enough for the perfect shot. Meet Bob Cat. Casually strolling by. It’s an adventure outside my window.