April showers bring May flowers, so what do May flowers bring? Cheese Puffs! Also known as Gougéres, these French choux pastries are inspired by the stunning Alp Blossom Cheese sourced from Austria. Adorn yours with any combination of dried (or fresh) flowers and herbs. Make them tiny for a fun party snack, or double the size for sandwiches. You can even take it to the next level and fill them with cream cheese and sliced ham.
~*~ CHEESE PUFF BLOSSUMS ~*~
SERVES: ABOUT 30 MINI PUFFS ⎪ LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE
Mise en Place
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, plus 1 for egg wash
2 teaspoons fresh herb of choice
3/4 cup grated Alp Blossom Cheese, Gruyere, or Swiss
dried flower & herb options:
dandelion • cornflower • marigold • rose petals • lavender • parsley • rosemary • oregano • savory • garlic • onion
Playlist—Ben L’Oncle Soul
1. MAKE THE DOUGH
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Add water, lemon, honey, butter and salt to a pot. Bring to medium heat and cook until the butter is melted and the water starts bubbling. Remove from heat and add the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Return the pot to the heat and stir for 3-5 minutes to dry out the dough. When it smells nutty and a film of starch forms on the bottom, the dough is ready.
2. FINISH THE BATTER
Pour the dough into a bowl or stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Let cool for about 5 minutes or until warm (not hot) to the touch. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly until smooth. The batter will first appear lumpy, but keep stirring, it will eventually come together. Finally, fold in the cheese and fresh herbs.
*Pro Tip* Another way to check your batter –> scoop up some dough with your wooden spoon. If a stiff ‘V’ hangs down from the spoon, it’s ready!
3. FORM THE PUFFS
Use two spoons to scoop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Or scoop the batter into a Ziplock bag and snip off 1 inch of the corner. Pipe the puffs, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Use can also use parchment paper to make a bag.
4. PIPE THE PUFFS
Wet your fingertip with water and pat down any spikes on the mounds to prevent burning. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush each puff with egg wash and sprinkle with dried flowers and herbs.
*Make Ahead* At this point, you can place the baking sheet into the freezer and bake them later.
5. BAKE THE PUFFS
Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F, and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden.
6. SERVE & STORE
Serve immediately, or briefly re-warm in a 250F oven. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
~*~ FRENCH VARIATION ~*~
Use Comté cheese and top puffs with Herb de Provence and Celtic sea salt.
~*~ SWEET VARIATION ~*~
Omit the cheese. In Step 1, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. In Step 6, sprinkle puffs with confectioners sugar.
How would you use Alp Blossom Cheese? Let me know what you’ve cooked and leave a comment below.