Earlier this week, I was reading about Jamie Oliver and Food Revolution Day coming up on May 19th. The theme “Bring Food Education Back” made me think about one of the reasons EmmaEats came about – to help inspire families in their kitchens. As I read on, I learned that food education is not compulsory in schools worldwide. How disappointing for kids today! I learned so much back in Home Economics class. Do you remember having to take Home Ec and about any of your creations there?
One of the most memorable things I made in class was choux pastry. Reflecting back, I was so proud of my golden, perfectly puffy morsels. Strangely though, I can’t remember having made them since then!
Emma has an aversion to pastry cream and icing lately (I know, how unfortunate – wink, wink) and choux pastry is often used in profiteroles and eclairs. When we were in Paris last year, between the macarons, croissants, pain au chocolat and other incredible French baked delicacies, we encountered gougères, the savory version of choux pastry mixed with cheese.
My first couple of tries at gougères were tasty but flat. Literally deflated. I told Emma the first batch were crackers. (She still ate an entire baking sheet of them). I later tried a version with shredded smoked gouda — the cheese was too heavy and weighed down the dough. A different version again tasted great but weren’t baked long enough and so they deflated as they cooled. I was also trying some of these batches with spelt flour. What was the culprit here? How was it that these were so easy back in grade 7 home ec class?
Finally, although it took me a few tries, these are really quick and easy once you get the hang of them. Really. I left a few on a plate for Emma to eat with some veggies and cheese for lunch the other day. A short while after she ate, she called back into the kitchen – “Mom, can I have more of those puffy things?”.
A fantastic snack or appetizer, a sensational accompaniment to wine (for the grownups) – these are a real treat. Easy to make and easy to eat. Made from scratch. Hope it gets you feeling a little inspired.
Tips and suggestions:
- If you don’t have spelt flour, they can be made with all-purpose flour like traditional gougères are made. Use 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and increase the water to 1 cup.
- These are quite flexible and can be made with other hard flavourful cheeses as well. We’ve made them with parmesan as well as smoked gouda. Just remember to grate, not shred, the cheese!
- These freeze and reheat beautifully. Either freeze them before baking (put the prepared baking sheet with the unbaked gougères into the freezer for an hour or so and then place the frozen gougères into an airtight container back into the freezer) or after baking (by wrapping the cooled gougères in an airtight container and popping that into the freezer).