Thursday, September 30, 2010
The interwebs are about to be inundated with posts featuring this elegant yet simple appetizer so I'm piling on the bandwagon. In a spasm of silly impetuousness (which I am sure to regret soon) I agreed to join the ranks of those whom I have previously (and lovingly?) referred to as "The Doristas". They are the intrepid group of fans of cookbook queen (and James Beard award winner) Dorie Greenspan who crank out recipes weekly from her award winning books. The Tuesday group was focused on her baking book (which I received for Christmas) but now there is a Friday group to usher in the release of her latest masterpiece, "Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours." Now I adore Dorie (obviously, or I wouldn't commit to cooking my way through her book) but I do giggle thinking about a lady named "Greenspan" having a French table from which to share all her recipes. Oh well...I'm just glad she does! One look through the book and you can see that Dorie has the cred to pull it off and I love the idea of a cooking group (or is it a genius marketing gimmick?) where I can interact with the author and other blog chefs while I plan out the week's recipe. Whatever it is, it is fantastic! N'est-ce pas?
Seeing as this was the inaugural recipe of the group I decided to do Dorie's recipe exactly as printed (using Gruyere and a handful of cheddar) although you can do plenty to this recipe to mix it up a bit. When I made them a few years ago I put 1/4 teaspoon of dried mustard powder into the dough with a small amount of pepper for extra flavor and bite. They really don't need it. The small amount of browning their bottoms get on the sheet pan gives just a hint of that fabulous crispy, toasty cheese flavor and in my opinion that flavor carries the snack. They will take amazingly to whatever herb might be your particular favorite. Chive was tempting when I made these but I restrained myself for the sake of purity. (That's just how I am.) Check out some of the varieties here on Tastespotting and you will see what I mean about flexibility.
(UPDATE: Tastespotting approved my photo! Pretty cool considering how many they must have recieved! )
This time, I made them as specified and as the French do. I then settled down with a glass of wine, just as a lady named Greenspan recommends.
The recipe is silly easy and it was the perfect thing to start the group. So much of French cooking starts with this basic choux recipe. The group leaders frown on its members copying out the recipe on their blogs as the idea here is to encourage people to actually get the book. As such, I can't put the recipe here as I would usually do in this space. If someone else posts it I will update a link but lets just say that Google is your friend. Most other recipes for gougeres will achieve the same basic result so go for it. You just mix some cheese into a basic choux pastry and mound by the tablespoonful onto a baking sheet. Mine here are a little larger...about 1 1/2 tablespoon mounds.
Update: Dorie herself shared the recipe here so there you go!