Im so excited about this new project. If you're a regular visitor to this crazy mess of a blog I have, you know about Tuesday with Dorie (TWD). A large group of bloggers have been cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours for the past couple of years. It's totally changed my life in the kitchen. I've been baking things I never thought I'd try.
When Dorie announced last year that she was coming out with a French cookbook I was thrilled. I thought if the recipes in this book were as incredible as the ones in the baking book, then I was in for another great experience.
And the timing of the release of this book "around my french table" couldn't have been better for me. Hubs and I are leaving in the next few days for a little trip to France. We're going with a few other couples so I thought this would be a great time to get everyone together for a pre-Provence dinner party and make them be the guinea pigs for my first assignment.....gougeres! I had to google how to pronounce them, however. It's "goo-zhair". I haven't stopped saying it since!!
These little puffs are incredible. So light and airy you find yourself inadvertently popping them into your mouth one after the other. And the sophistication factor will blow your guests away. I served them as appetizers last night along with Dorie's suggestion of Champagne. Everyone loved them.....huge hit! And so simple to make.
This recipe makes about 36 puffs and they freeze perfectly. Just shape out the dough onto some parchment paper and pop them into the freezer. No need to defrost....just pop them into the oven directly from the freezer.
And as if impressing my friends with those wasn't enough, this week's TWD assignment was a Tarte Fine. I decided to be late with posting that one so that I could serve it last night.
Doesn't that look delicious! And so incredibly simple. Frozen puff pastry, some apples and a little butter and sugar and you've got yourself a show stopper!
I served this with a scoop of Jeni's Splendid Salty Caramel ice cream. Oh. My. God. And the best part (or worst if we're considering the size of my ass), Jeni's is now sold in Birmingham (V. Richards). Dangerous!
So I think the dinner party was successful and we're all looking forward to eating and drinking our way through Provence!
Here's the recipe for the Gougeres' and check out Lethally Delicious by Leslie for the Tarte Fine recipe. Or better yet, get the books for yourself and cook along!
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyere or cheddar (I used Gruyere)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water butter and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring -- with vigor - for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don't be concerned if the dough separates - by the time the last egg goes in the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougere, drop the dough from a spoon (I used a small ice cream scoop) onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds.
Slide the baking sheets onto the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougeres are golden, firm and, yes, puffed, another 12-to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.