Friday, March 6, 2009

Cheese Puffs

For a shower/wedding gift, Joey and I received Barefoot in Paris. Ina Garten is one of my favorite food network chefs. I would gladly have her and Jeffery over for clams any day. The best part about these cookbooks (we have 2 of Ina's) are the delicious looking pictures that compliment the recipes as well as her conversational banter accompaniment in introductory paragraphs. I can almost hear her telling each little antidote.

Joey and I both looked through the book searching for recipes that interested us. His first choice was Cheese Puffs. These are little puffed dough that are flavored with cheese (you could probably surmise that from the name). I was a little worried at first because the recipe seemed difficult and time consuming, but as it turned out it wasn't really that hard at all.

The cheese puffs were very tasty. We made ours a little too big so some of them were a little to doughy on the inside but still golden brown on the out. Next time we make these, we will hopefully have received (and mastered) the use of a pastry bag and tips (a zip-top bag doesn't work for large doughs).

Cheese Puffs
from Barefoot in Paris
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (we used iodized salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (already ground pepper)
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs (4 large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Grate cheeses, keeping them separated. Set these aside.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/4-inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.)** Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.

**The dough becomes very sticky. The two spoons and wet hand combination is harder than we thought. Ah, a pastry bag, what the life.

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