Weâ€™ve got some pretty strict criteria about what a holiday party nibble should be. It must pack a lot of flavor in a little bite. It shouldnâ€™t require a napkin, bib or bath. It should be enjoyed in two bites or less, and using just one hand. And oh, yeah, it must include beer. These French cheese puffs known as gougeres more than make the cut. Elevated in our version with a splash of abbey ale, they are savory and rich, but cloudlike, too. Eating one is like having a mouthful of Gruyere-flavored air.
Makes: about 32 piecesIngredients:
- 1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup Leffe Blonde or other Belgian blond ale
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese, plus additional
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine ½ cup milk, butter, ale, salt, dry mustard, white pepper and cayenne. Add the flour and baking powder; stir briskly until the dough pulls away from sides of pan. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat; let cool 5 minutes.
3. One at a time, stir the eggs into dough, beating vigorously until each egg is fully incorporated before adding next. Stir the cheese and thyme into the dough.
4. Spoon level tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of milk, and sprinkle with a bit more Gruyere.
5. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350. Switch positions of pans and continue baking until gougeres are puffed and golden, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and immediately pierce each gougere with the tip of sharp knife to allow steam to escape. Serve hot or warm.
MAKE AHEAD: Gougeres can be made ahead, cooled, wrapped tightly and frozen. Reheat directly from the freezer in a 350-degree oven, 6 to 8 minutes.