Gougères (aka Cheesy Party Puffs)
3-4 qt Heavy bottomed saucepan
Sturdy wooden spoon
Tabletop mixer w/ paddle attachment OR medium heatproof bowl
Piping bag with large straight pipping tip OR 2 small spoons for portioning
3/4 c + 1 Tbsp Water
6.5 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 c Bread Flour
pinch Cayenne, ground
pinch Nutmeg, ground
1/4 tsp Black Pepper, ground
4 ea Whole Eggs
1/4 c (as needed) Heavy Cream
2 1/4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
1 ea Egg Yolk (for brushing)
Preheat the oven to 425'F
Put the water, butter, and salt in a medium sized saucepot over medium-low heat.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine the bread flour, cayenne, nutmeg, and black pepper and sift.
When the butter has melted and the liquid is just starting to come up to a simmer, turn off the heat.
Dump the flour into the hot liquid all at once and immediately stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon, completely incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet and pressing out any clumps of flour.
Turn the heat back on medium-low and continue to stir the thick, pastey mixture around the pot, mashing it, smushing it, and paddling it, for about 3 minutes, when you should see a thin film forming on the bottom of the pot.
Remove from the heat and dump the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a medium sized heat proof bowl.
Turn the mixer on low and let the paste cool down until its no longer steaming and the mixer bowl doesn't feel hot to the touch, about 5-10 minutes. Alternately, just stir the mixture in the bowl occasionally until it has cooled off, about 10-15 minutes.
Crack the eggs into a container and beat them lightly with a fork. With the mixer running on low, add about 1 egg at a time, stopping to let each incorporate before proceeding, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally. YOU MAY NOT USE ALL OF THE EGG. You only want to add enough so that the paste gracefully drapes off the spoon in a downward V when you lift it, but isn't runny. If your mixture is still too dry after adding all of the egg, add just enough cream to achieve the right consistency.
Put the mixture into a piping bag with a large straight tip. Pipe blobs about the size of a tablespoon onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Alternately, spoon the dough onto the tray and use a damp finger to pat them into a round shape.
Whisk a Tablespoon of water into the egg yolk and then brush the tops of the dough with the egg wash.
Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 425'F. Then lower the oven to 375'F and bake for another 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your gougeres.
Eat them warm out of the oven, room temperature, or cool them completely and then freeze - refresh them in the oven for 5 minutes straight from the freezer before serving.