the appetizer:

French cuisine has influenced the eating habits of people around the world, especially those who enjoy "haute cuisine" in restaurants. But there are also many regional (or "provincial") styles of cooking that remain unique to France.

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Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 c. whole milk
4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 c. grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the salt, black pepper, thyme, and cayene. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and the butter. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat when the butter melts and add the seasoned flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously just until the dough masses into a ball and does not cling to the sides of the pan.

Transfer the dough to a large mixer bowl. On medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir after each addition until the egg is completely absorbed. Continue this process until 4 of the eggs have been used. The dough should be smooth and satiny. Add the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses to the dough and beat in thoroughly.

Spoon 2 teaspoons of dough about 1" in diameter onto buttered baking sheets, setting the gougeres about 1-1/2" apart. Beat the remaining egg and, with a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops to glaze.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the gougeres reach a rich golden brown. Let cool slightly. Serve immediately.



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This page modified January 2007