Thursday night our monthly cookbook club, Cookin’ Thyme Cookbook Club met at the shop. We are on our second month in the cookbook, Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan. I must tell you, this cookbook is FABULOUS! Everything made has been wonderful. Dorie has given us the best of French cooking, but in easy steps we can all accomplish! One of the recipes made, Gougères (goo-ZHAIR) really made an impact with the entire group. They were light and fluffy, delicious. Gougères are typically a Gruyère-flavored choux pastry that is piped into a ring before being baked. They can be served either hot or cold and are typically served at restaurants as your bread course when you sit down. This recipe was perfect in its flavor. I personally thought of how wonderful my Pecan Chicken Salad would taste served in it. I’ve included both recipes here for you to enjoy. Bon Appètit!
Makes about 36
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. water
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 t. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
5 lg. eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar (about 6 oz.)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring –with vigor–for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be concerned if the dough separates — by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds.
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are golden and firm, and yes puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.
Pecan Chicken Salad
2 T. butter
1 ½ c. chicken, cooked
½ c. mayonnaise
6 oz. cream cheese
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 t. salt
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. lemon rind
¾ c. celery, chopped
Melt butter in skillet. Add pecans and lemon rind and sauté for a few minutes. Combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, salt and nutmeg with mixer. Mix by hand, chicken, pecans and celery. Add to cream cheese mixture. Mix well. Serve on gougères.