Gougères

These tasty little cheesy puffs are a perfect canapé to serve with drinks.

cheesy gougeres

Choux pastry is so easy to make and less likely to go wrong – like some other types of pastry I could mention!

I suppose some people are put off by having to use a piping bag, but if you buy a supply of disposable piping bags, it makes it so easy. I got mine from Amazon – they come on a big roll and will last for ages. However, you can also use two spoons or a small ice cream scoop if you don’t want to bother with a piping bag.

This is a savoury recipe for cheese choux puffs that are absolutely wonderful on their own, served warm with drinks, but so good when filled with something creamy and delicious.

Gougeres

The gougères themselves are made with a generous amount of good quality cheese and a little cayenne and nutmeg, which I think makes all the difference to the taste.

The gougères can easily be made ahead, frozen and warmed through before you want to serve them.

Ingredients:
4 large eggs
250ml/9floz water
150g Plain/all-purpose flour
160g grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for the top
110g butter – diced
1tsp salt
¼tsp cayenne pepper
¼tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1 egg plus a little milk to make an egg wash

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200°/400°F and prepare a lined baking sheet

Add the water and butter together in the pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and dump in the four all in one go.

Beat together until fully incorporated and coming away from the sides of the pan.

Empty the mixture into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat for a minute to cool the mixture slightly before adding the eggs.

Add the eggs one at a time, madding sure each one is fully mixed in before adding the next one.

Add the cayenne and nutmeg and then the cheese, mixing until smooth.

Put the dough into a piping bag with a wide tip, or you can just cut the end off the disposable bag.

Pipe little mounds onto the lined baking sheet, using a wet fingertip to smooth away any points. For bite-sized gougères, they should be about the size of a cherry tomato, but you can make any size you like! Leave a gap of around 2 inches between each one to allow them space to puff up and out.

Very lightly brush each one with a little of the egg wash and top with extra cheese that has been finely grated. I use a microplane to grate a little cheese for the top, so it is super fine.

Cheese gougere close up

Bake for around 20 minutes, or until they are golden, well puffed up and light to the touch. They will deflate again if they are not cooked enough and need a few more minutes.

Gougere half

Serve warm from the oven with drinks.

Choux Buns filled with Orange Crème Pâtissière

My youngest son William and I popped out shopping when he was on half term holidays recently and he asked if we could buy some pizza.  He was just choosing one when the lady in the shop asked if we wanted to get a meal deal which included a dessert option.  Of course we then found ourselves choosing one of those too.

We went for some little profiteroles with a white chocolate topping that looked pretty ordinary, but how wrong we were!  Absolutely delicious!  The insides were full of orange flavoured cream and I decided there and then to try and recreate at home.

These were going to be topped with white chocolate too, but when I came to melt my chocolate, I discovered my oldest son Sam had eaten it all!  Luckily enough, I had some dark chocolate and so we had a last minute recipe change which worked out really well.

Profiteroles1

Pâte à choux buns:
250ml/9floz water
110g/4oz cold butter – diced
1 tsp caster/superfine sugar
150g/5oz plain/all-purpose
4 large eggs

Orange Crème Pâtissière:
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
300ml/11floz whole milk
2 large egg yolks
75g/3oz caster/superfine sugar
20g/¾oz corn flour
300ml/11floz heavy/double cream
Zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed orange
1tbs Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract

Topping:
200g/6oz of good quality dark or white chocolate
60ml/2floz heavy/double cream

Method:
Start with the crème pâtissière and mix together the egg yolks sugar and cornflour in a heatproof bowl.

Add the vanilla seeds and pod to the milk and heat to bring up to a boil, taking care not to let it boil over. Remove from the heat and add to the eggs and sugar, whisking well.

Return to the pan and bring to a full boil, whisking all the time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.  Remove the vanilla pod and squeeze out any remaining precious seeds.

Place the cream, zest and orange extract into a bowl and whisk into soft peaks. Fold into the orange custard and place into a piping bag fitted with a small attachment and refrigerate until needed.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430°F and prepare a lined baking sheet

Heat the butter, water and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil. Keeping the heat on low to medium, add the flour all in one go and beat with a wooden spoon until completely smooth and coming away from the side of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for one minute. You want the mixture to have cooled enough to add the eggs without scrambling them.

On medium speed add the eggs one at a time and carry on beating until thoroughly mixed.  The dough will be shiny and smooth.

While the dough is still warm, place into a piping bag with a large plain tip.

Pipe small mounds onto the lined sheet – at this point, you can go small for profiteroles or a little larger for buns. Use a wet fingertip to press down any pointed bits as they will burn.

Bake the buns for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190°C/375°F and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes until they are light and a lovely golden brown colour. Switch off the oven.

profiterole

Take them out and pierce a small hole with a sharp knife in the base of each one to allow the steam to escape and place each one on its side and return to the oven for a final 5 minutes to crisp up.

Place on their sides on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. They must be completely cold before you fill them.

To serve, melt the chocolate. I normally do this in the microwave as it is less likely to seize. Heat the broken up chocolate on high for around a minute and stir well, keep heating for 10 seconds and stirring until almost melted. The residual heat will continue to melt the remaining solid pieces. Add the cream and stir well

Pipe the delicious, zesty orange crème pâtissière into the profiteroles through the little hole in the bottom and dip in the warm chocolate sauce.

You can serve right away, or refrigerate for an hour or two. I actually prefer them quite cold and think they are perfect for a summer dessert.

profiterole1

Try not to eat too many!