Everyday Dorie – “My Newest Gougères”

Emmental, Mustard, & Walnut Gougères

I first made gougères in October of 2010. I’d just started a blog and was looking for some structure to keep me posting, learning, and connecting. I noticed that a cooking group called French Fridays with Dorie was just about to start cooking through a book called Around My French Table. I bought the book and signed up. I liked the idea of cooking my way through an accessible French cookbook, making some old favourites while being challenged by recipes that I’d been afraid to attempt. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an online community of bloggers, but I was intrigued to find out.

Over the years that we cooked through the book together, and beyond, I’ve been grateful that I decided to cook along. It turns out that I found a group of truly lovely people from around North America and all over the world. I’ve met a few in person and kept up with others online and I’m so pleased that many of us are gathering again to cook through Everyday Dorie together.

Everyday Dorie

It’s not a surprise that the glue that has held us together has been Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks. She is a lovely person, a great teacher, and an inspiring community-builder – it’s only natural that a terrific community of cooks would spring up around her work, starting with Laurie Woodward and the Tuesdays with Dorie crew.

Gougères ready for the freezer

These gougères are not just a call back to our very first recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, they’re also a perfect celebration treat, elegant, delicious, and simple. Those first gougères showcased the beautiful cheese that they were made with (Gruyère, if I recall correctly), but these new ones complicate things a bit with mustard and walnut playing against Emmental. We’ve all become a little more complex as cooks over the last eight years, too.

If you’re new to the group and to gougères, they’re still a perfect introduction to the path we’re taking, and I bet you’re just as pleased as I was to discover how easy and infinitely variable choux pastry can be. Try it for yourself – we’ve been given permission to share the recipe with you. Tonight, I’ll be toasting to cooking friends old and new, remembered and present with a glass of wine and plate of gougères.

Excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018
by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

MY NEWEST GOUGÈRES

Makes about 60 gougères

Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them. Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.

This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise—walnuts.

  • 1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water
  • 1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1-1⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
  • 2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar
  • 2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
W O R K I N G A H E A D

My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.

Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (1-1⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.

S T O R I N G

The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.

These gougères disappeared quickly!

You can read through everyone’s posts here. You can join in on the singular pleasure of cooking, writing, and eating your way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Everyday Dorie with a group of French Fridays veterans, Doristas, and lovely people at Cook the Book Fridays.

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FFWD – Celebration Week #4: Grand Finale

Now that our group has, collectively, cooked through the whole of Around My French Table, we’ve moved on to four weeks of celebratory posts, reflecting on our more than four-and-a-half years of cooking together.

Our assignment this week:

For the improvisers among us, share an original recipe that was inspired by an AMFT recipe or do a recipe that you would like to Make-Up or just make again. We also suggest that you say whatever you wish to say in this Post. We intend to have boxes of tissues on hand when we read everyone’s posts.. Do your best with this one.

Salted Butter Break Ups

Cooking together. It’s one of the simplest expressions of caring that I know. Cooking for friends and family is nurturing, but cooking with someone develops camaraderie and involves more than a little synergy. It’s easy to see this at work as you move through a kitchen, working with a person or a group.

It’s not something I knew was possible to create by cooking through a book with a group of bloggers scattered across the world.

Each week, as the French Fridays crew worked on another selection from Around My French Table, we began by sharing our questions and concerns with one another, then ended by reading about each other’s experiences with the dish. That alone created solidarity, as we identified with difficulties, helped each other problem-solve, and congratulated each other on successes.

However, it’s what we wrote alongside the practical details that really created our community. We shared stories, in the same way that cooks in a kitchen together might. We learned about the markets and culinary specialties of the places each of us live, while we shared the challenges we faced in finding ingredients across hemispheres, regions, and seasons. We cheered each other on in trying flavours, foods, and techniques we might have been too intimidated to try on our own. As we got to know one another, the quirks of our palates (and those of our loved ones) became fodder for discussion. And as we moved through the recipes, we shared our selves.

So, yes – camaraderie, synergy, and friendship built along the pathways of the Internet. Offline, a number of us have met in person. And even though this part of the journey has ended, we’ll keep following each other’s adventures online, while taking the opportunity to meet up in real time whenever it arises.

None of this would have been possible without Laurie Woodward, who first created Tuesdays with Dorie, then launched French Fridays with Dorie. Mary Hirsch and Betsy Pollack became the administrators of the group a little later on and their warm, encouraging presence made the group feel like a circle of friends. And Dorie Greenspan herself has been the warmest and most welcoming one of all – her encouragement to us along the way has helped us to become better cooks and bakers. More importantly, her generosity of spirit has been the model for how we’ve approached our connections with one another.

  

Now, I encourage you to go back and discover this wonderful cadre of bloggers for yourself – not only the fabulous stalwarts who’ve made it to the end, but also those who cooked alongside us at various points along the way. And do think about joining Tuesdays with Dorie – many of us are over there, too. Then check back with French Fridays in the fall. Laurie and Trevor Kensey (who coined the term Dorista) have something in the works. Until then, I’ll lift a salted butter break-up in salute to every one of the wonderful Doristas.

As you can see, I’m determined that this is not adieu, but à bientôt.

Grab your tissues and read through the Doristas’ wrap up posts, here: Celebration Week #4: Grand Finale

FFWD – Celebration Week #3: The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe

Now that our group has, collectively, cooked through the whole of Around My French Table, we’ve moved on to four weeks of celebratory posts, reflecting on our more than four-and-a-half years of cooking together.

This week, we were asked to:

Choose the recipe from the book that you have made the most often. Or, that you have made a variation of the most. It may not be your favorite or your AHA recipe but it’s the Repeater.

Strawberry Tartine

I’m going to choose a seasonally-appropriate answer to this week’s assignment. Dorie’s Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine has become an early summer ritual for me. The ingredients enhance the flavour of strawberries at their seasonal peak. And the freshness and portability of this tartine makes it the perfect summer food – whether it’s breakfast on the balcony or a picnic on the beach. So, this is my “repeater” in mid-June.

If you’d put this question to me in November, I might have answered with Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux or Leek and Potato Soup. Ask me in August and I might choose Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote. On a day when I’m craving a treat, my choice might be Croquants or Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake, instead.

All of which is to say that there isn’t just one page that’s stained, worn, and in danger of falling right out of the book. There are many.

Which recipes had the Doristas coming back for more? Find out here: Celebration Week #3: The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe

Win one of two copies of Jill Colonna’s beautiful Teatime in Paris!

FFWD – Celebration Week #2: The Never-Doubt-Dorie Moment

Now that our group has, collectively, cooked through the whole of Around My French Table, we’ve moved on to four weeks of celebratory posts, reflecting on our more than four-and-a-half years of cooking together.

This week, we were asked to:

Choose the recipe that might not have been your favorite or even something you enjoyed making or even something you were skeptical about but which taught you a technique or gave you an idea or provided a lesson of some kind.

 

In any long-term learning experience, there will be moments of doubt and skepticism. But, we push through to find out if that doubt was warranted and often, minds are changed. Personally, I’d rather be happy than right. Especially when that learning experience is happening in the kitchen.

There were many moments that I found myself feeling skeptical as we worked through Around My French Table and I think that’s a very good thing.

Sometimes, it was the instructions that took me aback. How could flattening puff pastry possibly be a good thing? Turns out, it’s a delicious thing.

Tomato-Cheese Tartlets

Tartlets

Sometimes, it was my own abilities in the kitchen that gave me pause. Now I know I can stuff a pork loin, present a soufflé, and even spatchcock a hen.

Olive-Olive Cornish Hens

Spatchcocked

At other times, it was a flavour combination that made me hesitate. Oranges and olives in a salad? Olives or nori in a cookie? Consider my palate improved.

David’s Seaweed Sablés

Seaweed

What I’ve never doubted was how much I’d grow as a cook during this process, though if you’d asked me at the beginning if I’d grow as a person, I’d have scoffed. As I said, I’d rather be happy than right.

Find out which recipes quashed the skeptic in the hearts of the French Fridays crew, here: Celebration Week #2: The Never-Doubt-Dorie Moment

Win one of two copies of Jill Colonna’s beautiful Teatime in Paris!

FFWD – Celebration Week #1: The AHA Moment

Now that our group has, collectively, cooked through the whole of Around My French Table, we’ve moved on to four weeks of celebratory posts, reflecting on our more than four-and-a-half years of cooking together.

  

This week, we were asked to:

Choose your favorite, loved the most, best recipe in FFWD to share this week and tell Why? Also share with us your Top 5 favorites list (you don’t have to make them)

I can’t be the only one who found this idea a little overwhelming. I’ve loved the majority of the dishes I’ve made from Around My French Table and there are over 300 recipes in the book. So, I went to a café with the book and some paper, got myself an iced latte and started making lists. Yes, lists, plural. I had to break it down by category, because the single list I started with became unmanageable.

So, I’m going rogue and sharing (wait…since I’m going rogue, does that mean I’m Cher-ing?) my favourites by category. Maybe by the end of this post, I’ll be able to settle on my #1.

Small Things

Small Plates

Gérard’s Mustard Tart

One of the very first dishes we made for French Fridays and still one of the most memorable. Who knew that mustard would mellow out so beautifully when baked in a rich tart crust? And this also marked my first introduction to one of the great revelations of this cookbook – a perfect, versatile, foolproof crust.

The Runners Up:

Gougères
Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa
Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad
Herbed Olives

Soups

Soup

Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup

I’ve made this one again and again – it’s the perfect introduction to fall. I’ve even made it for one of my co-op’s soup swaps and it was a hit for everyone. That said, there are a lot of delicious soups in this book. The runners up could easily have company.

The Runners Up:

Cheese-topped Onion Soup
Leek and Potato Soup
Paris Mushroom Soup
Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Poultry

Chicken

Chicken, Apple, and Cream à la Normande

This might be the best chapter in the whole book and it was hard to choose a favourite. I picked this dish, because I’ve made it more than any of the others. It elevates everyday eating beautifully.

The Runners Up:

Roast Chicken for les Paresseaux
Chicken Basquaise
Chicken B’Stilla
Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches

Meat

Meat

Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

I’d never have guessed that this recipe would turn out to be my top pick in this category, but it’s elegant, aromatic, delicious and versatile. It gets extra points for teaching me to finally like ribs.

The Runners Up:

Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak
Hachis Parmentier
Chard-Stuffed Pork Roast
Navarin Printanier

Seafood

Seafood

Mussels and Chorizo

Admittedly, the fish and shellfish chapter is the one in which I’ve got the most catching up to do, but I don’t think my #1 will change. This has been a consistently pleasing dish for everyone I’ve made it for and it’s something I always look forward to making again.

The Runners Up:

Almond Flounder Meunière
Skate with Capers, Cornichons, and Brown Butter Sauce
Monkfish and Double Carrots
Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote

Veggies and Grains

Veggies

Cardamom Rice Pilaf

One of the simplest recipes in the book and one of the most frequently made in my house. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices and it works beautifully in this pilaf. This side is as versatile as it is delicious.

The Runners Up:

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin
Celery Root Purée
Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts

Sweets

Desserts

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake

This cake has become a family favourite. I’ve made it many times for many people and so have my mother and my nieces. It’s gone to meetings, parties, and picnics. Now, people in all our circles ask for it by name.

The Runners Up:

Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake
Salted Butter Break-up
Speculoos
Floating Islands

Bonus: Kevin’s Favourites

Kevin’s favourites have changed over the course of this group, particularly since he became vegan. As it stands now, these are his top 5:

Kevin

Endives, Apples, and Grapes

At the top of the list is a dish that I crossed off one of my own lists with reluctance. It’s something we’ll gladly have again and again. It’s as sophisticated as a restaurant dish and as simple as a weeknight side.

The Runners Up:

Lemon-Steamed Spinach
Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps, and Garlic en Papillote
French Lentils
Spiced (Earth Balance)-Glazed Carrots

What Kevin’s choices have in common is that they make great sides, but are flavourful enough that you’d be happy simply eating a big bowl of any of them all on its own.

And the winner is:

Dorie’s techniques. You didn’t think I could pick just one recipe, did you?

Rillettes, sablés, tartines, roasted vegetables and fruits, quiches and tarts, cooking en papillote – these are just some of the things in the book that have changed my approach to cooking for good, and for the better.

So many Aha! moments. So many delicious meals.

Curious to see if the group reached consensus on the best of the book? You can find out here: Celebration Week #1: The AHA Moment.