Gougères with Ossau-Iraty and Piment d'Espelette
Fresh and fruity Piment d’Espelette pairs with sweet, nutty, and floral Ossau-Iraty to give these classic cheese puffs an irresistible whiff of the French Basque region. The gougères are best eaten while still warm, but they can be made a few hours in advance and re-crisped in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes just before serving.
- ½ cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups grated Ossau-Iraty (about 6 ounces), divided
- ► Heat oven to 425°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- ► Combine ½ cup water, milk, butter, salt, and Piment d’Espelette in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Warm over medium heat until butter has melted.
- ► Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until mixture pulls away from sides into a smooth ball. Dough will smell nutty and glisten, and a thin film will develop on bottom of saucepan. Keep stirring for another minute or two to dry dough.
- ► Transfer dough to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or a bowl large enough to allow you to apply some elbow grease). Beat on low speed (or by hand) until all steam has escaped and dough feels tepid, a minute or two.
- ► With mixer on medium-high or stirring quickly by hand, add eggs one by one, allowing each egg to fully incorporate and scraping sides of bowl if needed. Dough might turn lumpy at first, but it will eventually come together and smooth out. Turn mixer to low and stir in 1 cup grated cheese.
- ► Using two spoons dipped in warm water, form balls of batter 1 to 1½ inches in diameter and place on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1½ inches of space between each. Sprinkle generously with remaining ½ cup grated cheese.
- ► Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Gougères should puff up and rise. Without opening oven, decrease heat to 375°F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until gougères are golden and firm. Serve warm.
- ► For extra crispy puffs, 5 minutes before they’re done (do not open oven before this or puffs will deflate), use a toothpick or skewer to poke a hole into each gougère to release steam; return to oven to finish baking.
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