Gougeres - perfect for a food hangover!

So the holidays are almost over. We have been cooking and eating, and more cooking and eating, and baking and eating, oh and then some more eating. I think I took the girls for a walk in the mist of that. I have had enough and last night told Brian that I do not think I can eat again. Yes, it was an exaggeration but I my body was amidst a food hangover I think.  Strange enough, I woke up yesterday morning thinking what can I make today? I was a good girl this year and Santa brought me The Zunni Café cookbook. It is something I have had my eye on for years, but strange enough I have never gotten it. If you are not familiar with Zunni Café, it is one of the best places to eat in San Francisco. There you can order from the oyster menu (always changing as fresh ones are always coming in), can eat anything from a burger to a pork pot roast, has the best  Caesar Salad I have ever tasted, and the creamiest polenta that has ever passed my lips. I think you can tell that I was extremely pleased receiving this book. I was looking through it on Christmas morning and came across the recipe of sandwiches made with Gougeres. They looked fantastic and I knew I had to make some of them on their own…and maybe the sandwiches too.

Gougeres are made from Choux dough. They are light, airy, savory, and cheesy! I think they are perfect something light and satisfying. They are great when made small for wine tastings or little hors d’houver, and a great accompaniment to a salad or on the side of your meal. They are great anytime, but I feel they taste best the day they are made. A little sandwich made with them and a little soup is perfect for the holiday food hangover, although who am I kidding? I would make these any day of the week.

Note: These normally keep their puffed shape after baking, but I was overly excited about them and pulled them out of the oven abour 5 - 10 minutes sooner than they needed.  As you can see they deflated as they cooled, but they still tasted pretty awesome.

Gougeres (makes about 30 small, and about 12 - 14 large)

10 oz of Water

5 oz of Butter

1 tsp of Sea Salt (plus more for sprinkling)

5 large Eggs

1 cup of AP Flour

1 cup of Gruyere Cheese, grated

2 tsp of Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 tbsp of Fresh Thyme Leaves

Egg Wash (1 Egg and 1 tbsp of Heavy Cream whisked together)

First; preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place the water, butter and sea salt in at least a 2 quart pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture in pot comes to a boil, take a spoon and stir in the flour over medium heat. Continue to stir this mixture until it is one smooth dough lump that is easily pulled away from the sides of the bowl and sticking to your spoon,

Next, you will place your dough in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and begin to mix on low speed. You will see the steam rising up off your dough; you want to do this for just a few rotations so that the dough mixture releases some of its heat.  Then you will increase the speed to a medium placing one Egg into the dough at a time until all the egg is incorporated. Repeat this with all your eggs and mix until you have a smooth and in one shiny lump.

Then, take your dough and fold into it ¾ a cup of your grated Gruyere, the Thyme Leaves, and the Black Pepper. Now, if you are making large Gougeres you can place them by the heaping spoonful onto a baking sheet (lined if you like) at least two inches apart. If you would like to make small ones it is best to place your dough into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. You will pipe out about a large quarter size.  Brush your dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, black pepper & sea salt.

Finally, place your sheet trays the oven for about 20 minutes for the small and about 40 – 45 minutes for the larger ones. You will want to rotate them half way through their baking time. You will know when that are done when you see they are a rich golden brown, and have a hallow echo sound when tapped on. Let cool about fifteen minutes before serving and eating.