Monday, March 18, 2013



It's not often that I get to make food for a party -- after all, my husband and I aren't really the party-throwing type, not to mention that our apartment is in a perpetual state of disorder bad enough that we just can't ever have people over. But this past weekend, I got to help throw a bridal shower for a dear friend, and we settled on a wine-and-cocktails emphasis. What goes well with wine? Cheese, so I'm told (I don't drink wine, since I have yet to meet a wine I actually like). Cheese and crackers would be boring... but gougères, now those looked classy, fancy enough for a party and plenty cheesey, too.

Of course, I forgot that choux pastry, better known as the stuff you usually use to make eclairs and cream puffs, is a pain to make, 'cause it requires forcing eggs into an incredibly sticky dough that doesn't want to take them. Also, fun fact: if you put it in a food processor, the dough is so thick and sticky that it actually climbs up under the blade, up in there where it's a total bitch to clean out later. But hey, it came together, anyway, and the results were pretty darned tasty. In fact, the bride threatened to kidnap me and make me her personal cheesy-poofs chef. :) I guess that means they were worth it.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 c milk
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 c flour
3 eggs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little bit extra
1 1/2 c grated Gruyere cheese

1. Bring the milk, butter, salt and cayenne barely to a boil in a saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour until thoroughly combined -- it should come together into a dense ball.
2. Mix in the eggs until thoroughly combined, by any means you can think of. If you're lucky, you can force them together with a spoon. Or try a food processor, or perhaps a heavy-duty electric mixer. Beware: This stuff is seriously sticky -- it will stick to your fingers, the spoon, really anything it comes anywhere near.
3. Stir in the cheeses, then use a couple of small spoons to scoop, shape and drop table-spoon sized balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet an inch or two apart. Sprinkle the little bit of extra Parmesan on the tops.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for about a half-hour, until browned and crisp. Serve warm or room-temperature.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very entertaining description of stickiness. :) I've fought with these sorts of doughs before and always thought my problem was that I did something wrong. Now I feel vindicated!