This month, a group of food bloggers will be participating in Share Our Holiday Table, a virtual, progressive holiday dinner organized by Share Our Strength, designed to raise awareness of child hunger in the U.S. You can follow along, gathering up some great recipes for your own holiday entertaining. This progressive dinner party will include everything from appetizers to desserts - even drinks. Each category will include four options: gourmet, family friendly, vegetarian and gluten-free.
I'm making an appetizer for this dinner - gougeres. They are delicious little cheese puffs that are traditionally made with shredded Gruyere cheese but I've changed them a little - I made them with grated Parmigiano Reggiano instead. If you've never made gougeres, don't fret. They are so simple to make. You mix up the batter in a saucepan on the stove, dump it into a food processor and add eggs. Then you pipe it or spoon it onto baking sheets. Now that doesn't sound hard, does it. And the best part? You can actually make these ahead and freeze them in ziplocks. When you need them, just take them out and pop them on baking sheets and reheat. An appetizer at a moments notice! With a little glass of wine and some olives, they're hard to beat.
Check out the other bloggers who are posting appetizers today for the dinner:
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for a printable recipe, click here
makes about 35 small puffs
Some recipes for gougeres call for water and some for milk. I've made them both ways and I do prefer milk in the recipe - I think it's a little richer. You can also swap out the Parmesan for any cheese you like - Gruyere is the traditional cheese used, but you can try cheddar also, or a combination.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (or any other cheese you like) plus about 2 tablespoons more for sprinkling on the tops
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the milk and butter together. Add the salt and cayenne pepper. Add the flour all at once and stir, cooking over medium heat, until the dough comes together in a ball. Cook for about a minute more, until the dough is dry. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Cook dough until it forms a dry ball. Transfer to food processor and allow to cool. Add eggs, one at a time and process until you have a loose dough.
With the food processor running, add the eggs, one at a time, allowing the dough to absorb each egg totally before adding the next. Add the 1 cup of cheese and process. Your dough will now be very loose. Transfer this to either a pastry bag fitted with a large circular tip or, if you don't have a pastry bag, you can transfer to a large ziplock bag with a corner cut off. Alternatively, you can just transfer to a bowl if you don't want to pipe the mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or Silpats. Either pipe the dough onto the sheets or, using two spoons, spoon the dough onto the sheets in small mounds. Sprinkle cheese on top of each mound.
Bake the puffs for about 20 - 25 minutes, until golden. ( If you are baking both sheets at once, rotate the pans about 10 minutes into the cooking time. Bake 10 minutes more and then switch pans again and bake 5 minutes more.)
The puffs will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, stored in a plastic container.
If you want to make these ahead, you can let the puffs cool and then store in ziplock bags until ready to use. No need to defrost when you want them - just pop onto a baking sheet and reheat for about 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven.