I’m all about changing, experimenting and tweaking a recipe but there are times when a recipe for reasons only it knows becomes imbedded in my repertoire, not to be manipulated. Thus it was a surprise that I even considered a shift in the cheese profile of gougére.
Gougére and I go way back. It was a recipe that a cooking teacher in Boston taught with regularity while I assisted. His recipe came from the Madeline Kamman, a culinary beacon on the Boston horizon. P.R. made the gougére with 3 cheeses; Swiss, Emmentaler, and Gruyére. I thought it was perfection, nutty, unctuous, and rich. Hot from the oven, cheese bound dough oozing buttery goodness.
Gougére and my booze laden chicken liver pâté are my “most requested” dishes. Nouveau Beaujolais is not the same without them. This year we didn’t celebrate Nouveau Beaujolais with a large party and by the time New Year’s rolled around I realized I hadn’t had my gougére fix.
My eyes passed by a recipe for cheddar chive gougére. I was intrigued but hesitant. Would it be as good? I would hate to waste the calories on a gougére wannabe. I emailed our New Year’s couple and floated the change by them. The response was go for it!
With the chive/cheddar mantra ringing in my head I pondered the world of cheddar. At first all I wanted was a robust Vermont aged. Then I stroked some artisanal cheddars. Moving up and down the cheese aisle I moved from country to country. Goat to cow, American to---British Cotswold and Double Gloucester! Now you’re talking!
I couldn’t abandon dear Madeline so I went down to my library and retrieved The Making of a Cook 1971 edition. Smoothing out the book to page 526, I said a silent apology to “Burgundy Gougére” for using British cheese. I was sure on some level the recipe would fail in a culinary clash.
There were a couple of tweaks I did make to ramp up the cheddar experience. I omitted the nutmeg and added a teaspoon of mustard. I also formed it in a bread epi stile instead of the Burgundian Crown.
The results? Wow! The 4 of us had no problem finishing off the full recipe and although it wasn’t voiced I know we all would have eaten more.
Gougére is dough made with the choux paste technique. Butter and liquid boil together. Flour is added and cooked for a bit, forming a paste. Eggs are added and emulsified. Seasonings and cheese folded into the paste. it is then formed,baked and eaten hot. The dough can be made a day ahead but must be baked and eaten at once.
Cheddar or Swiss it will become one of your most requested dishes!
Preheat Oven 400°
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, silplat, or butter
1C Chicken Broth
7T Unsalted Butter, diced
1/4t grated fresh Nutmeg (if using cheddar omit and sub 1t prepared mustard)
Healthy pinch of Cayenne
1/2t Kosher Salt
Several grinds of Black Pepper
3/4C All Purpose Flour
4 Large Eggs
1-1 1/2C Cheese (the big three Swiss or Cheddar) - I am not shy in the fromage department and add as much as I think the dough can hold.
1 Egg yolk (optional see #8)
3T Milk (optional see #8)
1. Combine stock, butter, nutmeg (or not) cayenne. Bring to a boil.
2. Grate cheeses and set aside.
3. Turn off the heat and add all of the flour at once beat with a whisk, spatula, wooden spoon until a smooth paste.
4. Turn a burner on medium and “cook” the paste. STIR CONSTANTLY! And cook until you see a slight buttery sheen. If you move the pan on and off the heat you will notice steam evaporating. This takes about 5 minutes.
5. Add the eggs 1 at a time beating well in-between if you have an electric hand mixer it works well otherwise exercise those biceps!
6. Back to the whisk, spatula, or wooden spoon, add salt, black pepper and cheese (also mustard if cheddar).
7. Drop large spoonfuls in a circle or blobs that touch like heels of a foot with toes pointed outward.
8. This is not necessary. Mix egg yolk and milk together and paint the creation. Top the dough with more cheese.
9. Bake for about 34-40 minutes. It will puff slightly (weighted down by pounds of cheese!) and be a beautiful melty golden cheesy brown.
10. Slice into wedges and serve immediately!
If this is going to be your entree, all you need is a simple salad and fruit.
Read! Eat! and Always Enjoy!