My kids' school has this Parent/Teacher Mixer at the start of every school year. Honestly, it's not my favorite thing. But, as part of the PTO, I feel like I have to go... even though I really don't like ice breaking games. I mean, I really don't like them. At the same time though, as an experimenting gluten-free baker, I feel like I have to go because it gives me an excuse to bake up something new and spread the word that gluten-free baking can be delicious... and maybe, just maybe, lay the groundwork for a custom gluten-free baking business. (That's what this all about, right?)
Soooo.... I decided to adapt a recipe from Bon Appétit for Thyme Gougères. Are you signed up for all the food magazines daily/weekly emails? I am and I actually love it. My two favorite are Bon Appetit and the NYTimes. I highly recommend them.
But, I digress..... Bon Appetit.... Thyme Gougeres... oh yeah, well, of course the recipe that ended up in my email was NOT gluten-free, but I decided to make it anyways. Typically, I find that if you look at a recipe and it calls for 1.5 cups flour or less, you can pretty easily just swap your GF flour blend 1:1 with the regular flour called for in the original recipe. I suppose this depends on what GF flour blend you use, but if you're using my recommended blend, this definitely holds true.
I've never made gougeres before, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I've ever eaten them. I like Brazilian Cheese Rolls and the gougeres looked pretty similar. I knew that they were supposed to be quite airy, not a dense hard health food roll. 1/2 a stick of butter, 4 eggs, 1.5 cups cheese... yeah, not a health food roll. But, delicious... I knew they were supposed to be lighter than air and taste fabulous. So, I figured, what the heck, I can make these.
And, they WORKED! Creamy, full of air pockets big enough to hide in, hints of fresh thyme and nips of smoked sea salt. Best of all, you can make them ahead of time, freeze them and reheat to perfection. I seriously think these are going to be my Thanksgiving roll this year. And, I'm already plotting how to turn these from savory to sweet and, wait for it... turn them into cream puffs and eclairs! Yes, I said it. GLUTEN FREE ECLAIRS! Stay tuned for that one.
Gluten-Free Smoked Sea Salt & Thyme Gougères (makes 30-40)
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup gf flour (be sure your blend includes xanthan gum)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup grated Gruyere
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago
- 2 tsps (plus extra for garnish) fresh thyme leaves
- 5 large eggs
- smoked sea salt for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bring butter and 1 cup water to a boil in a large pot. Remove pot from heat and add gf flour and cayenne. Throw in a pinch of regular salt if you like. Stir-- using a spoon, not a whisk-- to combine and return pot to medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball. This takes about a minute.
Transfer this ball of sticky dough to your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the grated cheeses and fresh thyme leaves. Beat on low speed until the cheese and thyme are well mixed in. Next, add four of the eggs, one at a time and thoroughly mixing between each one. It will take longer and longer to blend in, the last egg taking the longest.
Now, here's where you get to put on your pastry chef hat-- if you're reading this blog, I know you have one of those in your kitchen-- and prepare to pipe the gougères dough onto two Silipat-lined baking sheets. Using an approx. 1/2" pastry tip (or a zip-lock with a 1/2" slit), pipe the dough into bite-sized gougères mounds. (Not sure how else to describe that!) They should be an inch apart from each other on the baking sheet... the gougères don't really spread out horizontally, but they will puff up vertically. If your gougères are piping out with spire-like tops, just wet your fingers and pat them down. We don't like spires when it comes to our gougères, thank you very much.
Mix 1 tablespoon water with the 5th and final egg to create an egg wash. Brush the gougères tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with smoked sea salt, extra thyme leave, and (if you're feeling especially cheesey) some extra gruyere.
Bake gougères until puffed and golden. The insides should still be moist, but not overly-eggy. This took between 25 and 30 minutes in my oven. Let cool slightly and serve. Or, if you're making these in advance, let the gougères cool completely and store airtight in the freezer for up to 1 month. Rewarm in a 325 degree oven until hot, approx 15 min.