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.
Spelt Parmesan Gougères
inspired by: David Lebovitz and 101 Cookbooks
(makes 36-40 2-inch gougères)
- 3/4 cup water
- 7 tbsp butter (slightly less than 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose spelt flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. If you haven’t already, measure your ingredients, grate your cheese and place them into little bowls near your workspace now. When making cheese puffs, mise en place is key.
Heat the oven to 425F.
In a medium saucepan, add the butter, salt and water and bring them to a boil on medium-high heat. When the butter is entirely melted and the mixture is barely starting to foam, reduce the heat to medium add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously until the mixture comes together into a ball. Continue stirring for a minute or two until there is no excess moisture and you can faintly smell a little toastiness.
Remove the saucepan from heat and stir again a few times to let out some of the heat. Now, add the eggs, one at a time, combining completely before adding the next one. [Note: this is a good time to be cracking your eggs into a separate bowl before you add them to the dough to ensure no shells!]
After all of the eggs are added and well-integrated, sprinkle the cayenne evenly overtop of the dough and gently mix in the cheese. Using two teaspoons, scoop and drop 1-1 1/2″ (2-3cm) rounded balls of dough on to the baking sheet approximately 1 1/2″ apart (they do spread before they start to puff). Bake at 425F for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375F, baking for an additional 15 minutes until they are puffed, golden and crisp. Serve warm (preferably with a glass of champagne for the grownups).
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).
This post was created for the Monthly Mingle at What’s For Lunch, Honey? hosted this month by Life’s A Feast.
I absolutely love gougères! Who doesn’t, really? I do remember Home Ec – and in fact on a recent trip home to my mom’s I actually found my Home Ec notebook with all the recipes we made! Fantastic! Because I live in Europe, my boys really never got used to fast food, take out or convenience foods and even though they cook only rarely, they do cook. One even makes incredible desserts! And maybe it is our European lifestyle, but we – and the kids – eat pretty balanced meals, real fruits and veg. And they love gougères! And now you make me realize that it has been much too long since I have made them. Thanks so much for adding these delicious treats to my Monthly Mingle!
I wish I would’ve held on to my notebook too. That would’ve been fun to revisit I’m sure! And, how wonderful to hear that your boys can cook and that they eat balanced meals. I’m pleased to say that convenience foods and fast food don’t really factor into our days either. Hope my little ones will continue follow the example!
I can’t imagine who wouldn’t love gougères – we’ll be trying a stilton version soon – and I am looking forward to seeing the other tasty contributions to the Monthly Mingle.
My teens beg for profiteroles and it’s my youngest’s birthday tomorrow. You’ve inspired me as to what to bake for her.
That sounds great. I expect you will have a very happy birthday girl!
It’s good always and my kids loves that too… I’ll try to make soon…..
Happy kids = happy mom!
Love to hear how they work out for you and if everyone enjoyed them. We made little smoked salmon sandwiches out of ours the other night for a light dinner. Added a bunch of fresh veggies and it was an easy night. I highly recommend them!
Parmesan cheese? Delicious choice!
Thanks – we think they’re pretty great as is, but are starting to experiment with other flavours too. Next up, stilton!