Nobody’s memory is perfect or complete. Memories are funny like that, we jumble things up and confuse the chronology of when things happen. It’s easy to lose track of time over the years, but the thing that has always fascinated me is why we remember some pieces and not others. There are memories that delight us, inspire us and hurt us, and yet certain things stick while others just…go away. Sometimes it’s big things that stick and sometimes it’s small and inconsequential things. Something that has always stuck out in my memory is seeing these gougeres on my friend Denise’s blog, Chez Us.
For one, my friend Denise happened to post them on her blog on what happened to be my birthday, which happened to be my first in Chicago. Coincidentally, I happen to love cheese and bread and all things that combine butter and cheddar and flour. I’ve bookmarked numerous recipes for gougeres over the years and five years later, finally stumbled upon one in Food & Wine that seemed easy enough for anyone to master.
These are the perfect hors’ d’oeuvres to make at a dinner party and serve alongside your favorite sparkling wine, like Cava. You could also serve these alongside a little prosciutto and more cheese. You want it to be memorable, right?
- 1 cup shredded clothbound cheddar cheese
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 425° and position racks in the upper and middle thirds. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, water and salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, then, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between additions. Beat in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese.
- Using a 1-tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop level mounds of the dough onto the baking sheets, 1½ inches apart. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese and bake for 28 minutes, until golden and risen; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.
- Lower the oven temperature to 400°. Pierce each gougère near the bottom with a skewer and return the pans to the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes longer, until crisp and deeply golden. Transfer the gougères to racks to cool. Serve the gougères warm or at room temperature.