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Cheesy Gougere
Recipe by Chef Brian Miller
Makes 5 dozen

Gougère are bite-sized cheese puffs, but calling them “cheese puffs” just doesn’t do them justice. Flaky and buttery with a hollow center, these luscious bites are made from pâte à choux dough (the same dough used for cream puffs) with cheese and herbs added to make them savory. The recipe below is for classic Gougère but other cheeses and herbs can easily be substituted. At Relish, we have used Manchego cheese and spiced them up with sweet smoked paprika for a Spanish twist. Another benefit of Gougère is that the dough can be made well in advance and frozen, ready to bake at the last minute—you’re sure to impress unexpected guests.

1¼ cups     all-purpose flour
1 stick        unsalted butter
2 tsp           salt
1 tsp           sugar
¼ tsp          paprika
¼ tsp          freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp          freshly grated nutmeg
1½ cups      grated Gruyere cheese (5 oz.)
¼ cup         grated Parmesan cheese
4 large        eggs, plus egg white if needed
2 Tbsp        fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line three large baking sheet s with nonstick such as Silpats or parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the butter, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, and nutmeg over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, add flour, stirring vigorously, until flour is no longer visible. Return pan to heat. Cook stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a film at the bottom. Stir in both cheeses, chives, and mix until the cheese is melted.

Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium until incorporated. Lightly beat the last egg and add a little at a time until the batter is smooth and shiny. Test the batter by touching it with your finger and lifting—it should form a soft peak (if not, it needs more egg. Add white, a little at a time, until a soft peak is formed.) Drop by teaspoon full onto sheet pan; smooth pointed top with wet finger. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until puffs are golden, about 20 minutes.

Note:  If not baking right away, put sheet pans of Gougère in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to an airtight container. When ready to bake later, preheat oven to 425° F and bake for 25-30 minutes until nicely browned.

Best when served warm.

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