Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pecan-Cheddar Gougères


I have a profound adoration for the legendary savory French pastry aptly named – Gougères. It is a French delight that is a savory choux pastry with cheese. You will find them in both small, finger sized or larger versions filled with earthy ingredients such as mushrooms, beef or ham. The larger versions are typically using a ring or pie tin. Stemming from the burgundy region of France, these bites of goodness are most commonly made with Gruyere cheese.























Yesterday was our annual office Thanksgiving celebration. The star of the event was the deep fried turkey that Joe brines for days in an array of secret ingredients. Brining adds flavor and moisture to this traditional holiday bird. The deep fryer is set up in a back corner of our parking lot and the timing is carefully orchestrated to coordinate with all of the side dishes. Typically the cooking time is one hour – hard to believe. Once Joe raised the cooked bird, he brings it inside to carve and we all have an irresistible urge to snag just one small taste before it is officially placed in the conference room.


















Everyone in the office signs up a few weeks ahead of time with their culinary contribution to the office feast. For the last several years, I have brought baked creamy yams with pecan crust. This year I switched out the yams for sweet potatoes – still delicious, yet I missed that vibrant orange color that is reminiscent of the fall season. Along with the sweet potato casserole, I brought Pecan-Cheddar Gougères. These savory French cheese puffs were a hit at the celebration and hard to contain yourself to just one.

























The feast was laid out in the conference room and before we dove into filling our plates, we gave thanks. Our thanks included working with such a great team of people, being healthy, happy and having a prosperous year with the bottom line.























Pecan-Cheddar Gougères

1 ½ C. Water
4 oz. (1/2 C.) butter, cut into 4 chunks
1 t. salt
½ t. cayenne
½ t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ C. flour
6 large eggs
3/4 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment or use a silpat.

In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg over high, stirring to melt the butter. Bring to a boil and then dump in all the flour at once.

Take the pan off the heat and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth, thick paste. The dough should start to form a shiny ball and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.

When the dough is dry enough, take the pan off the heat. Transfer to a stand mixer bowl. Pour in 1 egg and then beat until it's well blended and the dough is smooth again. Repeat five more times. If you're using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Use only low speed and don't over mix or the puffs will be tough.

Add the pecans and Cheddar to the dough and carefully fold to distribute them. With a mini ice-cream scoop or two tablespoons, drop mounds about the size of a whole walnut shell onto the baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the heated oven until puffed, deep golden brown, and just barely moist inside, 20 to 25 minutes (you'll have to break one open to really check the doneness).Transfer the Gougères to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining dough. Serve when just barely warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container and you can pre-heat for 5 to 10 minutes at 400 to crisp.

*Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

20 comments:

  1. I like the cheddar/pecan combination! Have these on the holiday party menu but I'm not sure they're going to get made...my menu tends to be longer than the available time to cook :-)

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  2. I love the combination! These look picture perfect.
    ANgie

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  3. Lisa, I really like this variation on the gougére. From the cayenne to the nutmeg and pecans, love your additions. I bet these disappeared quickly at your party. Sounds like a fun break from work to have a time to be thankful with each other. A+! :-)

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  4. These do look picture perfect. Even though my family is french, I've never tried making gougeres before. Now I have a wonderful recipe to turn to. I can imagine that these would be a hit at any holiday party. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you are having a relaxing day!

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  5. Oh my! I should be cooking instead of sitting here ogling everyone's baked goods ;) I love gougeres because they're savory, light and airy! This flavor combination sounds delicious.

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  6. I have never had a gougere before, but you make them look fantastic! I love the cheddar and pecan combination as well. Definitely a winner :)

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  7. I love gougères, these look perfect...
    I bet everyone loved them :)

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  8. Oh my word pecans and cheese?! That sounds like an amazing combination! Your photos are just gorgeous and the gougeres look so delicious.
    And I have to admit I got a little bit excited to see Tillamook cheese in the picture, haha (I'm from Oregon)

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  9. How nice to have a celebration in the office! Love the look of your gougeres and can imagine they must have disappeared pretty quick!

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  10. I love how adaptable gourgeres are! They're also so easy to make in advance, freeze, and heat up as needed. The cheddar and pecans sound delicious in yours!

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  11. I so want to try these. I'm going to print it off right now! What could be better than a savory choux pastry? I like this combination of sharp cheddar with the pecans. Thanks for sharing...can't wait to try it! ;)

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  12. I hate to fall back on the obvious phrase "gorgeous gougères". But if a beautiful woman walks in the door, it hard not to mention the obvious. Cuz these are, well gorgeous! GREG

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  13. That's so cute that you have a Thanksgiving party with your co-workers. I love Gougères. A while back, I clipped a Gougères recipe from the New York Times. It's been sitting on my desk for ages. I think you inspired me to make them. Yours look delicious!

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  14. I keep seeing gougeres everywhere but this version really calls to me. Extra sharp tillamook (my FAV) and pecans just sounds great and really gives the gougeres a bit more substance. Really great idea.

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  15. wow your office mates must have loved these YUM

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  16. I'm on a french pastry kick right now, so I may have to give these a go very soon :)

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  17. I've seen lots of recipes for gourgeres, this is the best one so far, can't wait to make!

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  18. I have to admit I have never made these in any style before but this is pretty convincing.

    Jason

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  19. hi is it possible if i substitute the pecans with chopped/diced jalapeno?

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