When it comes to the French language, SoupAddict must come clean: she does not parlayvoo the francay. No, indeed. SoupAddict spent her college years hip deep in Germanic and Scandinavian languages, none of which require any particular delicacy to speak (with one marvelous exception, the Swedish word for seven, sju, which requires summoning a soft, non-existent vowel sound from the depths of your sinuses without actually snorting or, you know, accidentally stirring things around in an audible way).
So, when SoupAddict first encountered the savory little French pastry called a Gougère, SoupAddict mentally and indelicately pronounced it “gowjer” and shoved one cheesy puff into her mouth (similarly indelicately).
Of course, SoupAddict immediately felt like she had been caught wearing jeans at a cocktail party. This was no mere cheese puff. And that’s the only clear thought she could muster before reaching for a second one. (But this time, she stuck out her pinky finger as she plucked another delicate puff off the plate. It seemed the right thing to do.)
The fabulous thing about Gougères is that, as hard as they might be for some to pronounce, they are that delicious, and more. And so easy to prepare. SoupAddict learned to make Gougères long ago from the teachings of Dorie Greenspan. Whom SoupAddict has never met, but still calls her “Dorie” when talking to the picture of her on the cover of her cookbooks.
“What?” you ask disbelievingly (completely side-stepping the news that SoupAddict talks to her cookbooks). “They’re easy?”
Hmmphf! SoupAddict is entirely trustworthy in these matters. Yes, they’re easy.
And then observe for yourself [because really, you shouldn’t trust SoupAddict, not when she admits to pronouncing something (anything) “gowjer” and talking to her cookbooks. Which she really doesn’t do. Really doesn’t [shakes head gravely]. No, sir. No]. In fact, Gougères are made with ingredients you no doubt have right now: milk, water, salt, eggs, flour, cheese. That’s it.
Since joining a CSA this past Spring, SoupAddict’s refrigerator has been taken over by an ever-growing army of eggs. Eggs in the egg rack. Eggs in the deli drawer. Eggs in the butter bin. Eggs in the vegetable drawer. Eggs in front of the milk. Behind the milk. An egg balanced precariously in the dimple on the milk cap, because there’s just no where else to go with it.
In all fairness to SoupAddict, the regular receipt of local, farm-fresh, free-range eggs seemed like a good idea. Until July. When SoupAddict realized she just doesn’t bake that much in the summer. But then it seemed like a really good idea again when the salmonella outbreak occurred in August, because even though SoupAddict still wasn’t really using eggs, she had safe eggs. Loads of ’em. (And she felt rather smug about her locavore tendencies.) But these Gougères require 5 eggs, which means SoupAddict can finally have her butter bin back. (Which she immediately filled with limes. Don’t ask.)
SoupAddict’s favorite Gougère is a Gruyère Gougère, which is not only fabulous to eat, but also a hoot to say three-times-fast after a glass or two of sparkling wine. But here, SoupAddict went with a French-American combo of comté and Cabot extra sharp cheddar. Smoked gouda is also good. As is gorgonzola dolce. It’s all good, people. Trust SoupAddict [nods enthusiastically while giving the thumbs-up].
SoupAddict likes to make this pâte à choux, which requires vigorous stirring and results in a sort of full-body jiggle that makes SoupAddict giggle at the thought of what she must look like. (When SoupAddict must do public speaking, which is thankfully rarely, she calms her nerves by imagining everyone in the audience standing over a pot doing the pâte à choux jiggle.)
The gorgeous — or shall we say, gougérgeous … [altogether, now: ggrrooooooan] — pâte à choux is thick and creamy, ready to go.
Spoon or pipe the dough onto lined baking sheets.
Break open one tender puff.
Admire the fluffy crumb and melty, cheesy goodness.
Shove it in your mouth whole (with pinky finger properly extended). Then grab the next one and place it delicately on the plate for presentation. Or, if it’s the third, or fourth, or fifth one that gets plated, no one will know. And SoupAddict [chomp] certainly isn’t one [nom nom nom] to tell.