Culinary school just keeps on getting better and better. The delicious things we are learning and creating makes me want to go to the grocery store every day after school and cook up a storm in my kitchen. Chef is really making our mouths water and today he hit a home run with the entire class. I want to have a party just so I can serve these amazing little creations as an appetizer.
This recipe is not difficult; however, it is a bit time consuming because several steps are required. Nonetheless, it’s so worth it because this isn’t something you can just buy at the grocery store. No matter who you are serving this to, your guests will be blown away. I recommend making a batch of these in advance for any Super Bowl parties you are throwing or attending. To save time, you may begin the process a couple weeks in advance by preparing and freezing the dough.
For the gougeres you must first prepare a Pate A Choux. In French, Pate A Choux means “cabbage paste” because the dough can resemble the look of cabbage, but don’t worry, it tastes nothing like cabbage. Moreover, Pate A Choux is the dough used for eclairs, beignets, profiteroles, French crullers, and much more. It is a rather simple dough to prepare because it only calls for a few, main ingredients: water, butter, flour, and eggs… along with a pinch of sugar and salt.
For the Pate A Choux you will need:
12 oz. water
6 oz. unsalted butter
9 oz. bread flour
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
2 oz parmesan cheese
2 oz gruyere cheese
1/2 oz fresh thyme, picked and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
First, add the water, sugar, salt, and butter to a medium sauce pot. While the mixture is climbing to a boil, sift the bread flour to ensure all lumps and clumps are out. Once the water mixture has reached a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the flour into the sauce pot. Turn the heat up a tad and stir continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon. Tip: you should be able to see a “carpet” on the bottom of the pot. You want to see that the dough is coming together like a firm, dry ball.
Add the dough to a mixing bowl and turn on low speed. A standing mixer with a paddle attachment is your best bet. You will see the steam rise from the heat of the dough. We want the dough to cool down a bit before adding the eggs. 140-145 degrees F is the ideal temperature.
Once the dough has cooled a bit, slowly add the eggs one by one. Checking for the perfect consistency is key when making a Pate A Choux. Once all eggs are in and the dough has come together nicely, stop the mixer and remove the paddle attachment. Slowly lift the paddle attachment from the dough and check for a “V” which the hanging dough will form the paddle. The dough should be firm but still flexible.
Then, add the cheeses, thyme, and salt and pepper to the dough and mix well. Pour the dough into a pastry bag and snip 1/4″ off the tip. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, squeeze small dough balls onto the parchment paper, leaving an inch or so in between each ball. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the balls are golden and crispy on the outside, but creamy and cheesy on the inside. Allow to cool.
For the red pepper coulis you will need:
1 red bell pepper, roasted and medium dice
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 oz. water
Salt to taste
Roast or char a red bell pepper over an open flame on gas stove, on the grill, or in the oven under the broiler. You want the skin to be black and somewhat burnt in appearance. Next, add a small amount of olive oil to a small sauté pan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. While the onion is cooking, use a paper towel to peel the black skin off of the roasted bell pepper. Cut in half, take out seeds, and give it a quick dice. Then, add the bell pepper, onion, 2 oz water, and a pinch of salt to a blender and blend until smooth.
Last but certainly not least is the goat cheese and mushroom filling. For the filling you will need:
5 oz. white button mushrooms, finely chopped (use stems too)
1/2 of a shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 oz. plain goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauté pan, add the shallots and caramelize in a small amount of butter over medium-low heat, 5 minutes or so. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and water has evaporated. Off of the heat, add the parsley, goat cheese, and red pepper flakes and stir until the cheese has melted completely. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the cheese and herb gougeres in half and spoon the filling onto each. Serve with the red pepper coulis. Voila! All of the work will be worth it because these little guys are absolutely amazing. Bon Appetit!