Friday, October 01, 2010


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!


Cristine said...

Bummer that they caved for you but at least they were still tasty! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry yours didn't turn out puffier. They sound fantastic despite their shape.
You wondered what might go with them and since I know that champagne and kir aren't things you consume I'm thinking maybe apple cider would be a nice beverage to have with them.

Deborah said...

I really want this cookbook, and seeing everyone's posts is going to make me want it even more!!

Lisa said...

These remind me of the pao de queijo (cheese puff breads) I ate while on my mission in Brazil. We would eat them with a hot barley drink. I'm sure that the lack of puffiness did not affect the flavor of your gougeres since they still look so golden and yummy.

Jacque said...

Aaaah, nothing worse than stove and/or oven problems! Ugh. Sorry :( Sounds like you were a trooper with the recipe though... I'd like to try some different cheeses, fontina sounds delish.

Leslie said...

Katrina, I think you may have pulled them out too soon. I did that with one of the batches I baked from the freezer, and they rose and then fell and didn't have the right texture inside. I bet they were still yummy but I want you to be able to enjoy how luscious they are! But maybe you should wait until the upstairs cooktop is REALLY fixed (bummer that you're having so many problems with it!)

Anonymous said...

Were we supposed to turn the oven down? I didn't! But mine puffed nicely, so maybe that's the trick. We had ours with soup and thought they were a nice side item other than the usual bread.

chocolatechic said... and the interruptions that it causes.

I don't think it matters what it looks like, as long as they tasted good.

Unknown said...

I have made stuff like this before and also experienced that eggy taste, At least you tried!

Trevor Sis Boom said...

I agree that you might have taken them out too soon as the outer walls of the puff have to support after the 'steam' abates. Have you calibrated your oven recently? It looks to me that your oven got too cool after turning it down. Or, you might be in a humid area? If so, you could try this one one less egg. But they tasted great, right? And that is what counts more!!

TeaLady said...

Couple of mine collapsed so don't feel bad. But they were awfully tasty.

Love seeing so many TWDers.

Randi M said...

Guess that gives you a reason to make these again soon! ;) Also, I think it's funny that we're both doing FFwD & 12 Weeks of Christmas. Looking forward to baking & cooking with you!

mike said...

Katrina - so behind on my commenting - apologies! But the gougeres STILL look wonderful! You can just pile on crab meat or some other delicacy - and tell people they are supposed to look like that! :)

Tia said...

awww... maybe 3rd x is the charm?
At least you made them - twice - !
my book didn't arrive until Friday, so I missed out :(

Mary said...

flat or puffy, these rock. maybe third time will be a charm?

Unknown said...

I think you can totally blame your stove for the puff problem - they do look delicious, anyway, so I'm sure your next attempt will be extra puffy. Last week our oven heating element died, so I was also in an appliance-induced panic.

Kayte said...

Okay, I am here to get caught up, I am 10 posts behind, so I am here to read, read, read until I get caught up. I will comment on some, not all or I will never get caught up...hope that's okay. These look nice and cheesy! I like how I can see the cheese. I was hoping to get to them today yet, so we shall see. Really looking forward to this new group and book!

AmyRuth said...

Wasn't it Julia who said "Never apologize?" Whatever, but I am pretty darn sure they were tasty whether or not you thought them pretty. You'll get it. Nicely done.

Jayne said...

I sympathize - we went through some sort of similar stove top issue a number of years ago - my daughter was a baby, my son a young toddler, and I had to make do with the two-burner electric stovetop in our basement until the gas stove upstairs was fixed.

AmyRuth's right - it was Julia who said never to apologize. Also there's that thing about looks not being important; it's what's inside that counts. Granted that's meant for people, not food, but I think it can work either way. ;)

Mimi said...

What a bummer that they fell, but I've already read your other post and know that you were successful with pate a choux dough. I'm thinking that I'm going to post my FFwD once a month and include all the recipes for the month that I have made in one post.

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