There is a show on television that has two women making a bunch of dishes from a particular cookbook to test drive the recipes. Their testing helps them come to a decision on whether or not they will recommend people buy the cookbook — whether the recipes are easy to follow, require too many advanced skills, if the final product was what was promised in the recipe and how it tastes.
I always cringed whenever I watched that show, because the two women were so very horrible at cooking. In retrospect though, I think they were good people to test the recipes because if people that unorganized and incapable could make their way through the recipes with success, anyone could.
While looking online to find the best candidate for a gougère recipe to try, I was reminded of these two as there was a posting about them cooking from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I was surprised to see that they’d test driven this book, because apart from some instructional drawings, there are very few pictures. (That’s not a dig… really. Books without pictures are not their preference.) But I will give them credit for pointing out a problem with the gougère recipe: the eggs should not be added to the dough while on the heat and the recipe doesn’t tell the reader that.
My own finding was that gougères aren’t difficult to make, but when I make them again, I’ll try someone else’s recipe. They weren’t very cheesy tasting, despite my using old Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. But based on many many other recipes I’ve made from this cookbook, I’d recommend it.
Here’s how it went.
There was butter.
Some salt. Smoked Maldon salt, in fact.
There were eggs.
Two kinds of cheese.
Then the fun began.
This was easy: dissolved the salt and melted the butter in the water.
Add all the flour, all at once and stirred it until it formed a ball. Not that easy, but I persevered.
Then began adding the eggs, one at a time. This was troublesome, as the dough kept getting wrapped up the beater causing me to stop and scrape it off during this part of the procedure.
Here’s the finished dough, loaded onto the baking sheet and ready to bake.
And here are gougères.
A gougères, split open.
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
You can see the recipe here: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Goug%C3%A8res_I
1 cup water
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. (about 7 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup freshly grated Emmenthal, Gruyere, Cantal or Cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
Lightly grease a baking sheet and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine the water, butter, and salt in medium saucepan; turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the butter melts, just a minute or two longer. Add the flour all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until the dough holds together in a ball, 5 minutes or less.
Take the saucepan off the heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating hard after each addition (feel free to use an electric mixer). Stop beating when the mixture is glossy. Stir in the cheeses.
Drop teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet and bake until light brown, 10-15 minutes.