When I am having an exceptionally crappy day, sometimes I turn my frustration into baked goods. After a particularly annoying work day, I decided to turn out a batch of delicious gougères. Gougères are little puffs of eggy goodness that are often served at wine tastings in Burgundy. Try them – you will love them. (As a side note, I don’t like keeping carby treats in my apartment, so I bring them to the office to get devoured. I’m an evil genius, I tell you.)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup lowfat milk (it’s crucial that this is lowfat milk, not full fat)
10 T butter, salted
5 eggs, + 1 egg for egg wash
fresh ground black pepper
a generous amount (nearly a tablespoon, I would estimate) of dried thyme or an Italian seasoning blend
1/3 cup of Gruyere, Asiago, or any other harder cheese
Heat milk and butter on the stove until the butter is melted and it comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until it has formed a dough. Note: the original recipe recommended I add the spices towards the end, but I got ahead of myself and added them with the flour to the liquid. No big deal.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Once all the eggs are added, use a silicone spatula to fold in the cheese. Then, put the choux pastry into a pastry bag with a larger tip, and pipe out little 2-3 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Beat the last egg and use a pastry brush to do a generous egg wash on each pastry. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes, until the gougeres are a lovely shade of golden brown.
Variations: You can add all kinds of stuff to the choux, such as very finely crumbled bacon or chopped spinach. You can also pipe out larger pastries for a more hearty serving size.