The buttery flavor of French Beaufort cheese enhances these classic cheese puffs, which are perfect for entertaining. Bake a batch for your holiday party this month!
Beaufort, Chive and Black Pepper Gougères
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) unsalted butter
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) shredded Beaufort cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh chives or fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and the butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until the butter has melted completely, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and make a well in the center. Crack 1 egg into the well and beat it, with the wooden spoon or a handheld mixer, into the hot mixture. Repeat with 3 more eggs, beating each egg into the hot mixture before adding the next egg; you should have 1 egg remaining. Add 1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) of the cheese and the chives and mix well.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. To form each gougère, dip a teaspoon into cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoon of the batter and push it onto the baking sheet with your fingertips. Repeat, dipping the spoon in the water each time to prevent sticking and spacing the mounds 3 inches (7.5 cm.) apart. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the mounds with it, being careful none drips onto the pan, which can inhibit puffing. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake until golden and crunchy, about 15 minutes longer. Pierce each puff with a skewer to release the steam, turn off the oven, and leave the puffs in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 30 gougères.
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan.