I love to throw appetizer parties. I find it so much easier than hosting a dinner. I can make everything ahead, set it out on the table, and enjoy the party myself! I even set the drinks out so everyone can help themselves anytime. Pepper Cheese & Chive Gougère -- pronounced goo-zhair -- is always a favorite. It's a unique, delicate and delicious appetizer and -- the best part -- it's deceptively easy! Preparation time is only 15 minutes for these little cheesy cream puffs.
Start by putting your butter and water in a saucepan.
Now put your pan on the stove on medium heat. While waiting for the butter to melt and the water to boil, assemble your other ingredients. If you're lucky enough to have fresh herbs, cut them right from your garden!
Chop the chives, using my "lazy scissors" method or use a standard chopping knife.
Now set out your other ingredients so they're ready. This recipe goes fast once the butter and water come to a boil. Start by preparing your pan. I used parchment paper but you can also just grease your pan lightly.
Set out your eggs, your cup of flour, your Italian spices and your garlic salt. (I use 1/4 teaspoon salt plus one clove minced garlic instead of the garlic salt, which works fine, too.) Last, shred and measure your cheese. I used cheddar because I had a lot on hand; other days I've used grated parmesan or the pepper jack the recipe calls for -- always with great success. In my experience, these puffs are pretty impossible to mess up! (The one notable exception was when I tried to make these on the grill. What was I thinking?! They actually still tasted great, but didn't get light and puffy like usual.)
If your water boils before you're ready, just pull it off the burner and put it back on when you're ready to start adding ingredients. Make sure it's boiling, and quickly add your flour, spices and garlic salt (or garlic and salt).
Mix vigorously with your spoon!
In about 10 or 20 seconds, you'll have a steamy, heavy mass of dough that is pulling away from the sides of the pan as you stir.
Remove your pan from the heat and again, quickly, add your eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously between additions.
As you stir in each egg, the dough will get glossy and feel a little slippery.
But, again, in just a few seconds you'll have your egg incorporated and be ready for the next. After your final egg is fully mixed in, your dough will look like this.
Now, while the dough is still warm, add 1 cup shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for later) and the chives.
Once the cheese and chives are mixed in, simply use a teaspoon to drop roundish pieces of dough onto your baking sheet. I don't worry too much about perfecting the shape. In my opinion, they always turn out adorable and delicious.
For a final step, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pop them in the oven.
I like to time these to be done about 10 or 15 minutes after the party start time -- about the time everyone has arrived -- so they can be served warm. If my party starts at 7 pm, I put them in the oven about 6:50 pm. If I have them ready on the baking sheets ahead of schedule, I just pop them into the fridge until I'm ready to bake. I have done this up to two hours before baking without covering them and they've still turned out great. If chilled, they might need an extra minute or two in the oven to get lightly browned.
When they're baked and ready, set them on the table and invite your guests to enjoy them while they're warm!
If your party is larger, put them on a tray and walk around. It's fun to see people's reactions when they bite into these delicate, flavorful cheese puffs. They can even be a conversation starter for your guests as they have fun pronouncing "goo-zhair." Everyone loves them. In fact, when I serve them, everyone raves about them. I love that they're so easy!
I hope you try these delightful Pepper Cheese & Chive Gougère Puffs for your next gathering. They're so quick, you could even make them for fun any night. Freeze whatever you don't eat according to the tip at the bottom of the recipe. They're easy to reheat and fabulous the second time around, too!
Stop back in a few days when Becky makes dreamy peanut butter bars.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.