Cheddar Herbed Gougeres (Pate a Choux)
"Pate a choux" is the French term for cream puff pastry. This savory version includes cheddar cheese and rosemary and is made into little puffs known as gougeres. They are a fantastic appetizer staple that can be filled with anything from egg salad to smoked trout.
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Heat the water and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. While the water is heating, combine the flour, rosemary, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat the paste vigorously with a wooden spoon. It will come together and form a ball, pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cook the paste until a film forms on the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir vigorously for 2 minutes to cool the dough before adding the eggs.
Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating with the wooden spoon until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The batter should be stiff enough to hold a soft peak. Stir in the cheese and mix to blend.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a plain 1/4-inch tip. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe small rounds 2 inches in diameter onto the sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. They will rise and puff in the oven. Bake until they are golden brown and firm on the sides, about 18 minutes. Remove the puffs from the oven and poke each one with the tip of a sharp knife to allow the hot air inside to escape. Return the puffs to the oven to dry out for about 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on racks on the baking sheet.
Serve plain, or cut in half and filled with your choice of fillings.
The gougeres can be stored overnight in a loosely covered container. You can omit the rosemary or substitute thyme
or any herb that complements your filling of choice.
As prepared, each serving contains 35 calories, 2.5g total fat, 30mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 2g total carbohydrate and 1g protein.