Anyone torn between their salt-loving and sweet-craving sides will love these blue-cheese pastry puffs that are dipped in caramel and sprinkled with coarse salt.

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Ingredients

For the Gougeres
For the Blue Cheese Filling (makes about 1 cup)
For the Caramel

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Make the gougeres: Bring water, butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in flour using a wooden spoon, and return to medium-high heat. (This mixture is called a panade.) Dry panade, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. It is ready when it pulls away from the sides and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.

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  • Transfer panade to the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until batter is smooth and shiny. It is ready when a string forms when you touch it with your finger. If a string does not form, the batter needs more egg: Lightly beat in remaining egg white a little at a time until a string forms. (This is called pate a choux.)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trace 25 circles onto each of 2 pieces of parchment using a 1-inch round cookie cutter, spacing 2 inches apart. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, and top each with parchment, traced side down. Transfer pate a choux to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch round tip, and pipe rounds onto parchment, using traced circles as your guide. Smooth peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

  • Bake gougeres until pale golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets set on wire racks.

  • Make the blue cheese filling: Beat blue cheese and mascarpone in the clean bowl of a mixer on medium-low speed until well combined. Reduce speed to low, and beat in heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

  • Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/8-inch round tip. Insert tip into bottom of each gougere, and fill.

  • Make the caramel: Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystal from forming. Cook, without stirring, until caramel turns dark amber, about 10 minutes.

  • Remove from heat, and set saucepan in ice-water bath to stop sugar from cooking. Immediately dip the top of each gougere into caramel, and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt. (If the caramel hardens as you work, reheat over very low heat until it loosens.)

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