Christmas Eve is all about cookies. Or is it about portable, bite-sized treats, be they sweet or savory? I have to think that at some point Santa (and dinner guests) grow tired of all the sweet and decadent goodies associated with Christmas Eve, and desire something lighter, sharper, and saltier–sacrilegious as that may sound.
Enter googers! Actually, gougeres (though I cannot tell you how to pronounce that). Made with blue cheese and wine (and a good spat of butter), these puffs are unlike any other recipe I have seen. They need to be cooked in a pan until they form a “ball” and require a tiny scooper to get out of the bowl and onto the baking sheet. But overall, they are a breeze to put together, and equally easy to scarf down. They puff up delightfully in the oven, making each bite you take feel more airy and less sinful than it can actually be. But, heck, it isn’t time for New Year’s resolutions yet. Let them eat gougeres!
Black Pepper and Blue Cheese Gougeres
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 25 to 20 gougeres
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Maldon salt and pepper, for garnish
Heat the butter, wine, and water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture is melted and slightly bubbling, remove from heat, and mix in the flour, salt, and pepper. Place saucepan back on the heat, and use a wooden spoon to move around the mixture until it farms a ball. This will take about a minute, and you’ll know you’re done when there is a slight film on the saucepan.
Place the mixture in a an electric mixer and let cool for a few minutes. Add the blue cheese and beat into the mixture on low speed. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating them in on medium speed, and scraping down the bowl with a spoon between each egg addition.
Use a tiny ice cream scoop to scoop about one-tablespoon mounds of the mixture onto baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. There should about about an inch and a half between each mound. Sprinkle each mound with a touch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the gougeres are puffed, golden brown, and dry to the touch. Serve warm or at room temperature. Gougeres can be frozen or stored in an airtight container for several days.