Monday, September 26, 2011

Gougère with Raclette, Bacon & Chives

Cheese-flavored pasty puffs, or Gougères, are a classic French appetizer, made of pâte à choux flavoured with cheese, usually Gruyère, Comté or Swiss, but other cheeses can also be used. Gougères can be made as small individual bite size cheese puffs or piped as a wreath-shaped ring, like this delicious recipe for Gougère with Bacon and Chives, which is made with Raclette, a semi-firm mountain style cheese with a mild, creamy, nutty flavour and silky smooth texture, ideal for melting. Crisp on the outside, airy on the inside, this recipe for Gougère with Raclette, Bacon and Chives is loaded with flavour, and perfect served as an amuse-bouche or paired with a heart-warming soup for dinner. 

Individual bite-size apperitif Gougère - photo courtesy of

Gougère shaped into a wreath on a parchment lined baking sheet

Choux Pastry is a technique of mixing butter, eggs, water and flour that has been around for over 500 years. Invented by French chef Antonin Carême, the name comes from the French for cabbage, 'chou', because of the characteristic shape of the cream-filled puffs. The end result of pâte à choux depends on the technique being used. The puffs can be sweet or savory, filled or unfilled, topped or plain. As sweet treats, they can be filled with cream and topped with chocolate for eclairs, croquembouche or cream puffs; fried instead of baked for beignets. But once you master the technique for choux pastry, a whole world of puffy, crisp, delectable treats will be at your fingertips, like this deliciously moist and flavourful recipe for fluffy Gougère with Raclette, Bacon and Chives. You don’t even have to tell anyone it took just minutes to make — it’ll be our little secret.

Gougère with Raclette, Bacon and Chives
Serves 8-10

3 oz unsalted but
ter, cubed
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup flour
3 eggs
5 oz Raclette or Swiss cheese, grated
1 tsp Dijon mustard
5 slices smoked bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the butter and water until the butter is melted and the mixture is boiling. Remove from the heat; add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Return the pan to the stove and dry the dough over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl and cool on the counter.

Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time. Add the Raclette cheese, mustard, crumbled bacon, chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Using two spoons, shape the mixture into a 10" ring on the parchment lined baking sheet, then bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to to 350°F and bake another 25 minutes, until the ring is nicely puffed and golden. Turn the oven off and leave the cheese puff inside for another 5-10 minutes, leaving the door slightly ajar. Serve on a wooden board and slice with a serrated knife.

To make individual bite-size Gougères, drop the dough by small spoonfuls onto the parchment paper and bake the same way, but reducing the baking time by one-third. Serve warm from the oven with cocktails.