31 December, 2009

Cheese Puffs gone French.

I'm thinking I cannot the only one to have both well-loved guests on the way to cheer the new year in, and a debilitating cold/flu whatever firmly lodged in the area of my sinuses, throat, nose, etc. It had to happen sometime, but why now? No, really not so good timing, given that my cooking drive has taken a bit of a nosedive as a result of my continuous coughing and hacking. And what am I doing writing at 12:15 in the morning, the intelligent reader asks. Waiting for the (imported) Nyquil to kick in, replies the soon-to-be hostess. Duh.
I had decided on an easy crowd-pleaser (the cheese puffs, or gougères, in the title), but discovered my pastry bag is AWOL. In my house, if you can't find something, there is a very good chance it is In Storage. Problem is, Storage is in a different country. So if you do have your pastry bag (or can track one down), but lack ideas for something delicious and easy to make for New Year's Eve (or any other pretext), then by all means, take over where I have had to leave off.

Gougères are delicious finger food from the region of Burgundy, the kind of savory pastry snack that makes people forget their manners and all but two-fist the crispy little treats while hulking protectively over the serving tray. These hollow little balls go excellently with a glass of Champagne. And as long as you follow the instructions carefully, they're quite easy to make.

There are excellent, simple recipes online. I like that FXcuisine features clear, step-by-step photos (the photo above is from their recipe), while Food and Wine offers Alain Ducasse's version. Who better to stump for this French delicacy? I still think the standard Gruyère cheese makes for the tastiest gougères, but at Baking Obsession, Vera has chosen a less conventional path. It does look delicious. Let me know if you try it out.

In the meantime, I will stumble to bed now. The Nyquil has kicked in, and the rasping, consumptive-sounding cough is being replaced by jaw-breaking yawns and slightly blurred vision. (Hey, it's party central already.)

Thank you for reading this far; Happy New Year to you, with good cheer--and good health.


  1. hi sweetie, the cheese puffs look fab! hope you feel better soon though :(

  2. Hack! Cough! Gag! (hoarse whisper) Thanks for the kind thought--need the getting well to start SOON!

  3. Happy new-year! Your cold must be over with by now. Don't you use a plastic bag cut in a corner for the cheese puff when you don't have a bag?
    Alain Giraud is a known french chef in LA. I was lucky to go to a fundraiser; he had made gougeres. They were delicious!

  4. Happy new year to you too, Nadege!

    I have plastic bags galore, but the rather necessary metal tips are in storage. And that kind of baking supply you wouldn't pick up in a regular supermarket since there's a bakery on every corner, and most people here buy their baked goods.

    Thanks for noticing, but the cold/flu turned into a pretty nasty case of bronchitis, so it isn't yet over, although I do think the worst is past. I'll probably add a new entry tonight or tomorrow, though.

    You know, I will be in CA for a bit in February with family. Do you think you could recommend some culinary highlights around LA/Orange County sometime?

  5. Hope you are feeling better by now. Bet it's cold chez vous today! Not much snow here yet, but think it's on its way. Those gougères look yummy. Plus I just like saying the word, such a mouthful!lol

  6. I finished the ENTIRE box of Nyquil, and have been at work on the box of amoxicilline for some time now, but this bronchitis isn't over yet. Is it snowing as much where you are as it is here? Hasn't stopped once since daybreak; I have never seen so much snow around here...Of course everyone is panicking and everything's being cancelled. People react poorly to the white stuff in the South, but it really looks picture postcard perfect.


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