One of the things I love about the Boy Wonder is his gregariousness. In his gung-ho reporter days he’d winkle stories out of anyone – if they were bad eggs it was often to their regret – and I used to give him a stern talking-to before we went anywhere so he wouldn’t accidentally-on-purpose interrogate my friends.
“I can’t help it,” he’d say. “People just tell me things.”
If he’s not making people divulge their life story, he’s probably telling them to come over for a drink. At times last summer I felt like we were running a bar and I was a short order canape maker. I came across these photos the other day and remembered churning out lots of these little cheesy puffs. I think I’m just about ready to make them again.
I’ve made these for years in all sorts of places, some better equipped than others. While beating the mixture in a food processor does make it a bit easier, I think the hassle of washing all the parts afterwards is hardly worth it. Equip yourself with a sturdy wooden spoon and go to it. Line the tray with baking paper and you’ll only have one pot to wash.
Gougeres are orginally from Burgundy and if you’re doing them the proper French way you should use gruyere. But I say, use whatever cheese comes to hand. No one will complain, trust me.
1 cup (250ml) water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (155g) flour
3/4 cup grated cheese
Heat the oven to 210C and line a tray with nonstick baking paper.
Put the butter, water and salt in a large pot and bring to the boil. When the butter has melted, tip in the flour and stir well. Turn down the heat and keep stirring until the dough forms a ball. Keep stirring this ball around the pot for about another minute, then remove from the heat and add one of the eggs. Beat like fury until it is all amalgamated, then repeat with the remaining eggs, one at a time. When the mixture is smooth and shiny, beat in the cheese.
Scrape spoonful-sized heaps onto the baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the gougeres are golden and puffed up. Eat immediately with a glass of something cold.
Do you have a favourite recipe for what Nigella calls ‘unhappy hour’?