Thanksgiving Practice Part One: Ooh la la Gougeres!

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Christmas Eve is at the in-laws for the annual “Christ-mah-kah” celebration. Christmas day is at my Mom’s. New Year’s Eve is celebrated each year at my dear friend Rebecca’s house. But Thanksgiving? That day is all mine. The menu each year is fairly traditional, but I always round it out with a few new additions, particularly after I have drooled over the new recipes in the Thanksgiving issues of all the gourmet magazines that I promptly scoop up once they hit the shelves. With most of the new recipes, I like to have a practice round.

I have been dying to make some variation on gougeres, those delectable little savory cheese pastry bites, ever since we learned to make them in that cooking class I took a couple months back. The chef warned that we really needed a stand-mixer to make them, and since mine won’t be in until December, they seemed a Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving treat. But then Gourmet magazine had to go and publish this totally amazing sounding gougeres recipe in their Thanksgiving issue, and I decided to throw caution to the wind, and employ the handheld mixer for the task.

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Hickory-Bacon and Roasted-Corn Gougeres
From Gourmet November 2007
makes around 40 gougeres (the mag had a misprint, and said 140)

4 hickory-smoked bacon slices
3/4 cup corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs – cracked in separate bowls
5 oz coursely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (I subbed green onions)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375F. Using a cast-iron skillet, cook bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels, and finely chop. Step 2: Pour off fat from skillet, and wipe clean, leaving a small amount of residual fat. Add corn and pan roast over medium heat, until kernels are browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

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Step 3: Bring water to a boil with butter and salt in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring until butter has melted. Add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from side of pan. Gourmet says this will take 2 minutes…but it took me all of 30 seconds.

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Step 4: Remove mixture from heat and cool slightly. You are now ready to add the eggs. Using your hand-held mixer, add one egg to the mixture, and beat on a low setting. Don’t worry if the batter appears to separate.

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Beat the mixture 20-30 seconds per egg, until you have done 4 eggs. When the batter is done, it will be smooth and glossy, and stiff enough to hold peaks. If the batter is too stiff, beat the remaining egg in a bowl, and add to the mixture one teaspoon at a time, until it has reached desired consistency. Once you have, give yourself a pat on the back, because you have just succesfully made a pate a choux pastry dough, which is also used for eclairs.

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Step 5: Stir in the bacon, corn, cheeses, chives and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

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Step 6: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or a silicon baking mat. You can now use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip, or simply make mounded teaspoons of dough. Place the gougeres 1/4 inch apart, onto each sheet.

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Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until puffed, golden, and crisp, about 25-30 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. OK to freeze once cooled, just reheat in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, making them ideal for entertaining.

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Take it from me, these little babies are so worth the effort. Particularly considering the fact that they freeze so well…I plan on making another batch a week before Thanksgiving to have as an hors doeuvres day of. We enjoyed a few yesterday afternoon, and I have to say, I think I prefer them at room temperature…the sweetness of the corn really comes through.

11 comments to Thanksgiving Practice Part One: Ooh la la Gougeres!

  • Wow! I am so glad that I’ll be at your place for Thanksgiving. These gougeres look delicious.

  • ageekymom

    These look really tasty! I may take them to the upcoming football party.

  • Cyndi

    Those look soooo yummy! My husband would like those for breakfast though.

    I *love* the name of your blog BTW. My husband hates veggies of any kind–except for green beans out of a can!

  • Jeff: I am so glad you will be here too! I am excited to try another few new recipes this year also.

    GeekyMom: I think these would be perfect to bring to a football party. Instead of freezing them, just fridge them in ziploc bags, and reheat for 7 minutes or so at 350.

    Cyndi: These would be great at breakfast! They do have a similar texture to biscuits.

  • I’ll give them a try-There beautiful!
    Thanks

  • Cindy

    I had actually read the article in Gourmet and I kept looking for a picture of the gougeres. I like recipes with a picture of the final product so I can visualize it. So, I blew it off but after seeing your post, I’m going to try it. After all, bacon, corn and cheese in a baked product? How can you go wrong? Thanks!

  • I’ve been wanting to try these ever since I got my issue of Gourmet, now I’m going to make them tomorrow for a cocktail party I’m attending. Thanks for posting pictures and your review, I was a little intimidated by the recipe, but now I feel pretty confident!

  • Ann

    These look terrific! Definitely added to my list of must-try recipes!

  • Carolyn

    I have been making these since 2007, and yes– they work beautifully as Thanksgiving appetizers, breakfast treats, and for football parties. I have used them for all three! And the fact that they freeze so well is a bonus. I always make them the weekend before Thanksgiving, enough for dinner and the morning after. Thanks for the pictures, they are always helpful–and FYI I use a teaspoon, not being that familiar with pastry bags. The shape is always beautiful.

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