A French cheese puff recipe takes you in a direction no finger-staining, orange-glo cheese puff has ever gone.
They are prepared with the same choux paste or puff dough as cream puffs and éclairs, and with fine, aged cheese. The traditional and most common choice is Gruyere but any hard, dry cheese will do nicely. Opt for aged White Cheddar, aged Asiago, or Parmisiano-Reggianno, perhaps, or a combination thereof.
Technically gougeres are appetizers, but they have all the nobody-can-eat-just-one irresistibleness of munchies. Incredible straight out of the oven or stuffed, as pictured.
Take heart, a cheese puff recipe only looks difficult. Read over the
directions and have all your ingredients measured and ready; it will go pretty
fast. It's best to line your baking sheets with parchment paper, which you can readily
find in the cling-wrap and aluminum foil aisle.
Preheat your oven to 400°. Line your baking sheets with
Heat the water, butter, salt and pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When the mixture boils and the butter is melted reduce the heat.
Pour, no, dump the flour in all at once and stir like crazy with a wooden spoon. Soon, the mixture will form a ball; keep stirring for another minute. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Transfer the dough ball to the bowl of a mixer with a paddle
attachment. (Or you can continue stirring like crazy.) Add 1 egg and beat at medium speed until the
egg is thoroughly incorporated. Repeat with the remaining eggs, one at a time.
The dough should be smooth and glossy. Add the cheese to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (puffs, remember) Or you can pipe them using a large, plain tip. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the puffs and bake on the top rack of your oven only, until golden brown all over, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.
This is a party-size cheese puff recipe, making 36 or more cheese puffs.
Prepared cheese puff dough will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
Or, prepare the puffs up to the point of baking on the morning of the party, cover, refrigerate, and bake in batches as the guests arrive. Warm is really, really good.
Add 6 ounces of king crab meat, 2 tablespoons minced chives or green onions, and 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard to the dough. Bake as above.
To stuff all the cheese puffs you'll need about 3 cups of "stuff." Mix grated cheese and flaked crab meat or chopped shrimp meat or ham. Add a little salt, pepper, dry mustard, and sliced green onions or chives to the mix.
When the puffs have baked and cooled, cut the tops off. Stuff the hollow centers with the cheese mixture, replace the lids, and return the puffs to the oven for a few minutes when you're ready to serve.
Substitute cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste for the black pepper. Add 1/4 cup minced jalapenos to the dough and bake as above.