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Posts Tagged ‘Gruyere Cheese’

Gougères

New Years Eve!  It’s that time of year when I get ready to open a bottle of champagne, nuzzle into a warm blanket with my hubby by the  fireplace, and watch people on television shiver in Times Square.  What?  Alright, I admit that we used to go out and tear it up, but for the last several years I’ve preferred the comfort of home and family to fighting the crowds and weather.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a few nice glasses of bubbly and good food on New Year’s Eve.  Honestly, if I could only choose one alcoholic beverage for the rest of my life, I would choose champagne EVERY TIME.  And every time I drink it, I make these incredible little gougères.

Gougères are little rich, perfect French pastries.  And since they’re French, they’re loaded with butter and cheese.  Basically they are  savory cream puffs.  They are crusty and golden on the outside and tender and eggy on the inside.  Pairing food with wine can be challenging, but matching these gougères with champagne is a no-brainer.  The cheese lends a wonderful saltiness, and the buttery richness of the pastry works so well with a good sparkler.  I’m telling you, the combination is divine.  If you can’t get your hands on a gruyere cheese, a nicely aged white cheddar is a good substitute.

As an added bonus, making them is almost fool-proof.  And it doesn’t take very long from start-to-finish to be nibbling on these little morsels.  Even better, you can make them ahead of time if you’re entertaining.  After the dough is made, drop them by a tablespoon onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet– no need to space them far apart– and freeze.  Once they are frozen, throw them all into a freezer bag and keep until you’re ready to bake.  Use them directly from the freezer, no need to thaw.  They will require a bit longer to bake this way, but they’re very convenient.  These are wonderful to keep on hand if you happen to want to have a glass at night with your spouse, after your children go to sleep (ahem).

The Recipe: Gougères

(makes about 2 1/2 dozen)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup water

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 larges eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely shredded gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the butter, milk, water, and salt to a rapid boil.  Once it is boiling, add the flour all at once and vigorously stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Lower heat to medium-low.  It should form a ball quite quickly.  Once the ball has formed, continue to “dry out” the mixture for another minute over the heat.  A slight crust should have formed on the bottom of the pan.  Remove dough from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.

Add the dough to a bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a wooden spoon).  Begin to add the eggs one by one, being sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.  The dough will look as though it has separated, but rest assured that after the last egg is added, it will come together.  Lastly, mix in the shredded cheese.

Using a tablespoon, drop the dough onto the lined baking sheet.  Leaving about 2 inches between each of them.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the gougers are firm, beautiful golden brown, and have a wonderful smell to them.  If making them from the freezer, you will need to bake them a bit longer.  Enjoy these beauties warm or at room temperature and most definitely with a glass of champagne.

Source:  Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

Thanks for stopping by today — may you all have a safe and wonderful New Year’s!

Laurie

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I grew up on a farm in a very rural area of the country.  We had a big grove of trees right behind our house that was perfect for all sorts of adventures– not to mention a few fantastic tree forts.  As a kid, this ‘forest’ was our playground to explore– so long as we were mindful (due to constant warning) of not trampling the wild asparagus.  It grew in bunches right in the middle of the grove, and popped up in late spring.  I recall my parents (as well as my grandmother) ceremoniously harvesting the first asparagus of the year.

I don’t grow my own asparagus, though I wish I did.  Instead, I [im]patiently wait for it to show up at the local farmer’s markets each Spring.  And once it does we tend to go through an “asparagus fest” for the two weeks that its in season. I know, I know, it’s available almost year round at some grocery stores.  I’d rather not buy it unless it’s actually in season though, just as I wait for summer tomatoes and cucumbers to show up locally in July.  It’s just not worth it to buy transported asparagus in the winter– it’s not a winter vegetable, so it doesn’t taste the same.

This Asparagus and Gruyere Tart is so easy it’s almost embarassing to write a blog post about.  The ‘crust’ is made from puffed pastry.  If your not familiar with this little gem, you can either choose to make your own (which can take a little while), or you can buy it ready-made from the grocery store.  This is one of those few times where I recommend buying the pre-made product– it’s in the freezer section, and is generally high-quality and easy to work with.

When preparing the asparagus for the tart, choose medium to thick stalks.  Cut the stalk-ends off, and use a vegetable peeler to peel them about 1/2 way up the stalk.  This will ensure  that the asparagus is tender.  This vegetable pairs so beautifully with the gruyere cheese, while the ridiculously flakey puff pastry is a the perfect canvas to hold it all together. The flavor is incredible.  My husband confessed that he really wasn’t looking forward to this meal– but he ended up loving it.

The Recipe:  Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

(Serves 4)

Flour, for work surface

1 sheet frozen puff pastry  (thaw it according to package instructions)

2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (Emmentaler or Fontina cheese would also work beautifully)

1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus spears (bottoms trimmed and peeled for optimum tenderness)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16 x 10 – inch rectangle ( I had a difficult time getting mine to 16 inches — use your best judgement).   Trim uneven edges.  Place pastry on a baking sheet.  With a sharp knife, lightly score the pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle.  Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from the oven, and sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese.  Place asparagus in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips.  Brush  with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until spears are tender, 20 – 25 minutes.   Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Source: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

Thanks for stopping by Relish It today!  Hope you’re having a great start to your week!

Laurie

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