Con Poulos
February 26, 2018 12:00 PM

The chef of the Academy Awards Governors Ball shares his starworthy spin on french gougeres

Wolfgang Puck’s Black Forest Ham & Gruyère Cheese Puffs

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup water
3/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup bread flour
3 large eggs, divided
5 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1¼ cups), divided
2 oz. black forest ham, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 large egg yolk
Coarse or flaky sea salt

1. Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375°. Combine butter, water, cayenne and kosher salt in a heavy metal saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, and add flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture is combined and forms a smooth paste. Return pan to medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute.

2. Transfer mixture to bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add 2 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating on medium speed until each is fully incorporated and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Add about ¾ cup grated Gruyère, and beat until incorporated and melted from heat of mixture. Add ham, and beat on low speed just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

3. Transfer dough to a pastry bag (fitted with a No. 4 tip) or plastic ziplock bag with a snipped corner, and pipe evenly spaced small balls, each about the diameter of a nickel, on a nonstick baking sheet. (Reserve any remaining batter to pipe and bake on a clean, cooled baking sheet after the first batch.)

4. Whisk together egg yolk and remaining whole egg in a small bowl. Brush the balls of dough lightly but evenly with egg wash. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ½ cup Gruyère; sprinkle with a small pinch of sea salt.

5. Bake in preheated oven until gougères are nicely puffed and deep golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer gougères to a platter, and serve immediately.

Makes: 6 dozen
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

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