Sublime Gougerés Three-Ways
Sublime Gougerés Three-Ways: With Feta Cheese, Nigella Seeds, Aleppo Pepper
In the era of Julia Child, at least in a lakeshore suburb in Milwaukee Wisconsin where Joy grew up, newly sophisticated cooks like Joy’s mother were abandoning French Onion Dip and Water Chestnuts Wrapped in Bacon to serve ethereal puffs called Gougerés with Gimlets and Manhattans. Gougerés were so puffy and light and rich all at the same time, they seemed a miracle, making everyone feel as if they too deserved a stroll down the Champs Elysées.
Turkish spices are a natural for Gougerés, a treat that would have been equally welcome (and perhaps were) by French-influenced chefs in the sultan’s harem.
For the Basic Gougerés Dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
4 large eggs at room temperature
For the Feta Cheese Gougerés:
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon paprika for dusting gougéres
1 teaspoon Maldon Salt
For the Gougerés with Nigella Seeds:
1 tablespoon Nigella seeds
1 tablespoon Maldon Salt
For the Gougerés with Aleppo Pepper:
1 tablespoon Aleppo Pepper
1 tablespoon Maldon salt
Preheat oven to 375°F
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat.
To make the Gougéres, place the butter in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and add the water. Stir the water into the butter until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Turn off the heat.
Quickly add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove the pan from the stovetop to cool slightly before adding the eggs, about 5 minutes.
When the mixture is warm to the touch, but not hot, add the first egg, stirring in a figure 8 motion until the egg is completely incorporated. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. The mixture will transform into a golden, glossy unctuous paste.
Or, put the mixture in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated into the mixture before adding the next.
On a baking sheet covered with parchment or a Silpat, scoop 1 teaspoon of the paste, about 1 ½ inch in diameter and with a second spoon push the paste onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining gougéres, placing them about 1 inch apart.
Dust the gougéres with paprika and a sprinkling of Maldon salt and bake them for 25 - 30 minutes until they are puffed and pale golden brown.
To make the Feta Cheese Gougéres, add the feta cheese and gently incorporate it into the paste.
To make the Nigella Seed Gougéres, omit the feta cheese. Before baking the Gougéres, sprinkle them with Nigella Seeds and a dusting of Maldon salt.
To make the Aleppo Pepper Gougerés, omit the feta cheese. Before baking the Gougéres, sprinkle them with Aleppo Pepper and a dusting of Maldon salt.
Serve the Gougéres with champagne or as part of a meze plate.
Gougerés may be frozen for up to two months and reheated in a 350°F oven for 10 – 15 minutes.