I’ve been very reminiscent lately. Mainly on Bordeaux. With Andreea and her family moving there, my mind and my heart are frequently exploring all the memories I cherish from the time I also called that beautiful city home. I’m looking forward to hearing all about Andrea’s adventures and stories she will have over there, I think we ALL are. But until she settles into life and we can hear from her again, I’ll keep rambling on about my “back days” (the term my daughter uses to talk about the past). Everyone had a period in their life when they sort of “discover” themselves or “become who they are,” and for me it was Bordeaux…. (well, split that 50/50 with the summer before in the Peruvian Amazonian Rain-forest with the indigenous tribes, but thats another story.)
So once again I’m resurrecting some knock out recipes gathered from the good old days when I had a French grandmother looking over each one of my shoulders instructing me on the methods, history, and secret signatures of their favorites. Today we’re making something special to go with dinner: Gougères. (said goojer with your best French accent!) Or you can forget dinner all together and serve a heaping plate of Just these babies. No one will be complaining.
Its nothing more than a “pâte à choux” pastry dough with cheese mixed in. pâte à choux (said pat-a-shoe) is the base to many favorites treats such as profiteroles, croquembouches, eclairs, French crullers, beignets, and churros. Don’t let the foreign name scare you off, it’s very basic and easy as it only has 4 ingredients: butter, water, flour, and eggs. A puff pastry similar to Gougeres can be found in Brazil and South America, known as pão de queijo… both are light airy cheese puffs of heaven in your mouth.
This is where smell-o-vision needs to be invented. When your whipping these up, and as they emerge from the oven, the ONLY THING your brain is computing us the overwhelmingly mouthwatering smell of warm nutty butter & cheese. Now because I’m changing these to be gluten free (sorry French food gods!), I had some freedom with the flour to use, and seeing that Gruyere cheese very much a nutty cheese I used part almond flour to enhance this quality. And to make sure they held shape, no gluten often means no hold, I baked them in a muffin tin rather than the traditional blob on a sheet method. I mention this, because if you decide to use regular flour, you don’t need to use the tins and can just go with the blob.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup brown rice flour*
- ½ cup almond flour
- 4 eggs large
- 1½ cups grated Gruyère and Gouda cheese**
- Heat oven to 375 and grease muffin tins.**
- In a saucepan bring water and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low and add flour all at once. With a wooden spoon stir until the dough pulls away from sides of the pan.
- Transfer the dough to a mixing-bowl, on high begin beating in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. The batter should have almost be like muffin batter: between cake batter and cookie dough. This is your pâte à choux.
- Now stir in the cheese. Spoon about 2 tablespoons at a time into each muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, they’ll puff up and be golden in color.