Lobster & Cheddar Gougères
Gougères are basically French cheese puffs but with the added luxury of lobster and a fancy name. These are like luxury cheddar bay biscuits; they have similar flavors but are so light and airy. Gougères are made from choux pastry dough, the same dough used to make cream puffs or profiteroles but are made savory with the addition of cheese and in this recipe also lobster. When baking the Gougères they will often look done before they actually are; break one open to make sure that it is soft but not undercooked on the inside.
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter, 8 tablespoons, cut into ½” pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, about 6 ounces
½ cup chopped, cooked lobster meat
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg, beaten with ½ teaspoon salt, for brushing
1 teaspoon chopped chives, for serving
Position the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 400º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a rapid boil. Add the flour, lower the heat to medium-low and immediately stir with a wooden spoon while the dough comes together. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough, until the dough becomes smooth ball that easily pulls away from the sides of the pan, an additional minute or two.
Turn the dough out into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the speed to low and add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, the dough will be shiny, thick and fall from a spoon. Add the cheese, cayenne and lobster meat and beat to combine.
Using two spoons drop the choux pastry dough in tablespoon measurements onto the baking sheets two inches apart. Brush each with the egg wash mixture then bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pans then bake until the gougères are crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, about an additional 15 minutes.
Top with chives and serve warm. The gougères can be made ahead of time, frozen and reheated in the oven.
Makes about 2 dozen gougères.
Choux pastry recipe adapted from Anne Willan's in "Country Cooking in France".