Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blue Cheese Gougeres

We bought a chunk of blue cheese to eat with our chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday. And then we forgot about it (because we made so much stuff) and it sat in our fridge for almost a week before we realized it. My sister was fine with eating it on its own but we had a 1/2 lb chunk! Was she seriously going to eat the entire thing? Actually, knowing her, she could do it; she's a champion eater.

I'm much more practical so I started brainstorming recipe ideas and thought I could make some gougeres a.k.a. cheesy choux pastry (you know, like what profiteroles and cream puffs are made of except savory). Normally I'd use a "melty" cheese (probably gruyere) but this time I threw in a few blue cheese chunks and it was actually really delicious. The salty, intense flavor of the blue cheese gave a ton of flavor to the light puff. Blue cheese isn't for everyone so you could certainly substitute a cheese you prefer but if you're open to it, just give it a try. You never know if you (dis)like something until you actually give it a chance.
*Let me clarify that I schedule my posts way in advance. I cook like a fiend on weekends (and most weekdays) and edit photos and recipe pages at my leisure and line up the posts regularly. So, it's not like I made these gougere today, i.e. a full month after the Super Bowl. I made these a week after - when we discovered that we had leftover blue cheese. That being said, blue cheese is already moldy so even if I had made this a full month after it was purchased, I don't think it should be considered a big deal so everyone calm down!

Ingredients:
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour
1 egg
½ ounce blue cheese (I used Stilton) - you could use a different cheese of your choosing, such as cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, jack, even goat cheese; it's really up to you
Heat up the butter and water in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Add in the salt and then dump in the flour.
Whisk furiously until the dough clumps together. Let it cook 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate out some of the moisture. Dump the dough into a bowl and let it cool, which shouldn't take long for such a small chunk of dough.
Once the dough has cooled, add in the egg and whisk until the egg is absorbed into the dough. It might seem like there's way too much egg compared to the amount of dough and it'll start off kind of gross and chunky but all of a sudden, the egg will be absorbed like magic. Then, the dough will be thick and sticky. At this point, you can stop whisking and gently stir in the blue cheese.
Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon and plop the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake the puffs at 425F for 25 minutes until the dough is puffed up and golden brown.
The puffs should be puffy (duh) and hollow and cheesy and delicious. The texture of the gougere is quite nice too; it's crisp on the outside with a slightly chewy interior.
Serve the gougeres while they're still piping hot. These make a lovely starter or side dish and would go great with a hearty meal - like steak or stew or meatloaf - or even as a carb to accompany a yummy salad.
Here's the recipe page:

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