These prosciutto-cheese gougères are easily tossed together with eggs, cured ham, aged cheese, and plenty of fresh thyme and rosemary.
I believe that of all the puffs, the savory gougère is the pinnacle of puffery perfection. The reason being that the pastry used for sweet profiteroles, cream puffs, and even the Eiffel tower-like croquembouche is, at the core of its being, no more than a vehicle for the filling. It’s what you have to get through to get the Cracker Jack prize within, whether pastry cream, ganache, caramel, you name it.
☞ READ THE ARTICLE: HAM AND CHEESE, ITALIAN STYLE
But the gougère, well, the gougère is the prize. It’s sorta the edible version of a Chinese takeout food container.
In this version, I went one better by adding to the batter classic Prosciutto di Parma as well as one of the noble cheeses of Italy, Grana Padano, along with thyme and rosemary to ensure every bite literally explodes with indulgence. Okay, perhaps I’m a little hyperbolic. But these are indeed not your ordinary savory gougères. Indeed, a fine piece of puffery.–David Leite
- 1 cup cold water
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 4 ounces Prosciutto thinly sliced and finely chopped
- 4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) finely grated cheese such as Parmiggiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
- 2 teaspoons rosemary leaves minced
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Crank the oven to 425°F (218°C) and position racks in the top third and bottom third positions of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking sheets.
- Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Dump the flour all at once into the boiling butter mixture and, using a wooden spoon and good old elbow grease, stir until the flour clumps into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Continue stirring over medium-high heat until the dough leaves an even, dry film on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. (Don’t you dare skimp on this step.)
- Drop the ball of dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the dough is just barely warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
- Plop in an egg, increase the speed to medium, and beat until incorporated. The dough may look hopelessly soupy and broken at first, but fear not and continue mixing until the blob turns smooth and slick. Repeat with the remaining eggs, adding them 1 at a time.
- Using a spoon, stir in the Prosciutto di Parma, Grana Padano, rosemary, thyme, and pepper.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough, or use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to make plump mounds, on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Have a glass of cold water handy and dip the spoon in it every so often to help make the dough easier to scoop.
- Bake the puffs until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating and switching the positions of the sheets once halfway through baking.
- Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool slightly. Then whip off your apron, pop as many puffs as can fit into your mouth, place the rest of the puffs on a platter, and offer them to your guests post haste. (You can bake these up to 2 hours in advance, then reheat them in a 350°F [176°C] oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Or freeze a batch of baked, cooled puffs for up to a month and, just before guests arrive, pop the frozen puffs into a 350°F [176°C] oven for 10 to 12 minutes.)
A little bite to carry you through the holidaysFrankly, these little bits are so bursting with flavor due to the Prosciutto di Parma and Grana Padano that they need little else. But…you know me: I have “Guild the Lily” tattooed on my chest. For Thanksgiving, you can fill them with a mix of cream cheese and cranberry compote. For Christmas, think thin slivers of leftover rare roast beef and a dollop of horseradish sauce. And for New Years, well, I think a tiny mound of caviar and a spoonful of sour cream is exactly what Father Time craves.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This gougères recipe is perfect for that irresistible, one-bite morsel of goodness and delectability that we’re all looking for on the cocktail buffet. It’s the perfect bite that includes cheesy, salty, savory, and herbal goodness. It’s the Rocky Mountain High of Poufs, the Sultan of Savory Puffs.
I can see it pairing well with a great single-malt Scotch, a nice, cool Chardonnay, a good, hearty Cabernet, and an icy Abita Turbodog. Yes, all of them! And I have to admit, I did sneak one right out of the oven with a diet Coke (decaf, of course).
These puffs are puffy and chewy, cheesy, and salty, and perfect coming right out of the oven. They’re great to serve before dinner to friends, but I recommend making two batches for a party. You’ll want to check the taste of one as they start cooling, then you’ll find yourself popping “just one more” in your mouth. They’re almost too easy to eat. One of these times I swear I’ll serve them with something, instead of just eating them while standing at the counter.
But make the two batches of dough separately, instead of just doubling everything in one pan.
Originally published November 06, 2019