Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day: First Course

I've been ejected from the kitchen for the time being while Kevin makes the important part of our Valentine's Day dinner. I'm not entirely sure what we're having; I had to come in and help unearth the mandoline and while I was there I saw some potatoes.

So, potatoes, scallops, and steak are involved. Otherwise I have no clue.

We must have something to snack on though, right? I didn't have time last night, so after work today I threw together something quick...

makes about 30 puffs
recipe adapted from Food & Wine

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 t salt
1 cup AP flour
4 large eggs
3 1/2oz shredded cheese
1 t Dijon mustard
Fresh ground pepper & nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400*. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, butter and salt. Bring to a boil.
Add the flour all at once and reduce heat to low. With a wooden spoon, vigorously stir the mixture until it comes together in a ball.
Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let the dough cool for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. The dough will separate into clumps when you add the eggs and look ruined, but keep beating the dough hard with the wooden spoon and it will come back together.
Add the mustard and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and mix.
Fold in the cheese.

Using either a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or a tea spoon, portion the dough into approximate teaspoon sized mounds on the baking sheets. Keep 1" between each puff to allow for expansion.

Bake at 400* for 20-22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Serve immediately.

These can be frozen for up to 2 weeks or held in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If frozen, let thaw at room temperature. Reheat in a 350* oven until heated through.

This is a basic choux with savory ingredients mixed in to make bite-sized appetizers. The same base dough can be used to make cream puffs, éclairs, and churros.
It can be intimidating to work with at first, mostly because it requires an impressive amount of elbow grease to get those eggs mixed in, but the end results are so worth it. In addition, panade - the dough itself - is the only pastry dough to be cooked before baking. Serve these at a party and impress your guests with a little trivia along with the yummy bites!

1 comment:

Katerina said...

Wow! These look super and so quick. I will definitely try these out.