Here we go! A large group of us have begun cooking and baking through Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Around My French Table. I know, I’m a little crazy right now as I also just started with the 12 Week’s of Christmas Cookies group, which are also posting on Friday. So be sure to check out that post, too, for some great Christmas cookie ideas and links to even more from the rest of the group.
Our first recipes for the month of October for French Fridays With Dorie were chosen by Dorie herself. She has put together a fun menu this month. Today we start with gougeres, I don’t even know how to pronounce it. There is an accent over the first e. BUT, essentially, these are cheese puffs—and I’m not talking about the ones from Frito-Lay. ;)
I have made them twice (half a recipe each time). The first time I made them, I don’t think they came out very well. These were sort of flat—not puffed up and they were concave on the bottom. I’d say I don’t know what I did wrong, but while I was making them the first time, the appliance repair guy showed up to fix our gas problem with our new cooktop. I’m excited that we got a new cooktop, but right now, it’s been about a week since I’ve had a working one. We waited for him to order a new regulator for the cooktop and the moment I started making the gougeres downstairs on our “spare” stove a couple days ago, he showed up. Yes, I’m having fun running from the downstairs stove, cooking things, then carrying everything back upstairs (it’s more of a trip that you’d think with the distance and all the heavy pots and pans I’ve been carrying). BUT, I’m not complaining because not many people have two stoves and the ability to adapt when necessary. MUCH worse things have happened and I’m not going to complain. BUT, when he showed up with the new part, I had just finished the first step in making gougeres by boiling the milk, water, butter and salt and added the flour and stirring vigorously. Though when the doorbell rang, I wasn’t sure I’d stirred vigorously enough.
I ran upstairs with the pot in hand and answered the door. Happy to see the repair guy with the part we needed, I set the pot down to talk to him a minute. I figured it was okay because that it right where the recipe says to put the dough in an electric mixer and let it sit a minute before beating in the eggs. But that minute might have really been 5-10 minutes. Then while I was standing in the kitchen and the guy was taking the cooktop apart, I talked with him and one by one began adding the eggs and let them beat. Also at the same time, I was listening to a kid or two yell at me about something or other and calling Kevin so he could conference call with the repair guy about the cooktop.
I plopped the tablespoonfuls of cheese puff dough (having used gruyere cheese) on a baking sheet and popped them in the oven. I timed the puffs just as the recipe said and even remembered to turn the oven down. This is also when the guy realized the company he ordered the regulator from sent him the wrong one. It didn’t fit. This was on Wednesday. The repair guy wasn’t happy and had told me about his day of things going wrong. He didn’t come until 6 p.m. or so, and was really hoping installing this regulator and having everything work well was his changing point for the day. :( Nope. To top that off for us, he was heading out of town Thursday afternoon, so even though he reordered our part next day, he wouldn’t be around to install it until this coming Monday. AND we don’t even know if this will for sure solve the problem with the cooktop. It’s not regulating the amount of gas to each burner correctly and when you turn the first one on, it sound like a blow torch, a big one, ready to scorch anything and everything around. Then when you turn on subsequent burners, with each one, the flame almost dies completely. Anyway, where am I going with this?
I blame the gougeres not turning out perfect on the repair guy. ;) I baked them the exact time the recipe suggested. We’re going on over a week with no upstairs stove and although quite annoyed by it, we do feel super lucky and blessed to have the one downstairs. That’d be a lot of eating out if we didn’t have that. ;)
So here’s my flat concave cheese puffs.
I’m embarrassed to show this when I’ve already looked at a few who have posted for FFWD and theirs look great, just like the photo on Dorie’s book. I have done exactly as the recipe says besides the extra few minutes of the batter sitting before adding the eggs.
So today I decided to buck up and try them again. I used fontina cheese this time. Again, followed the recipe exactly, and this time where it says to let the dough rest in the mixer for a minute, that is what I did, then added the eggs one at a time and beat, beat, beat. I was excited when I looked at the puffs halfway to switch the baking sheet around and they were more puffed than when I’d made them a few days earlier. I called them done at 24 minutes. Here’s the second attempt.
Just slightly puffier. But as I have been writing this up, they have fallen back down again and are concave underneath. Sigh. I have decided that I think they are not baked long enough to maintain that puff by crisping up the outside more. The other night, despite their not-so-puffiness, the boys ate one or two each with their dinner. Scott mentioned that they tasted eggy. I agree. This second batch isn’t quite so eggy tasting and I like the fontina cheese better. What goes well with cheese puffs?
I’m looking forward to the mustard tart for next week!