I did not make up this recipe, but the moment I saw it, I knew I was going to make it.Â After my very successful foray into eclair-baking a few months ago, I knew I wanted to adapt the choux dough into something savory, and soon.
So when we decided to have a housewarming party to celebrate (finally) being unpacked, I thought of gougeres. And amazingly, I also thought of my actual hardcover, made-of-paper cookbooks, of which I have a fairly good number, but which I literally never turn to. Usually, if I want to make something, I’ll just kind of make it up as I go along, based on 1) my own past recipes, and 2) internet research. But this time, in part just for inspiration, I dragged a stack of cookbooks over to the couch and started to look through them.
And I found these elegant little finger-sanwiches (in a Williams Sonoma Christmas Entertaining cookbook, very randomly). But they were surprisingly easy, and called for ingredients I already had on hand — the only thing I had to buy was proscuitto. And, I will say, although proscuitto is definitely an expensive ingredient, it’s really used as a garnish here, and I made about 20 appetizers with about three slices of proscuitto — not even a quarter pound.
I also have a secret to share there — sliced proscuitto in grocery stores is ungodly expensive. But there’s an italian market on a street right near where I live, and they were able to give me exactly the amount I needed, freshly sliced, for only a few dollars (for those of you in New York, it’s called Faiccio’s). But even for those of you who aren’t in New York, it’s another reminder that we shouldn’t assume that smaller, local vendors are more expensive than big, chain grocery stores!
Gougeres with Prosciutto and Shaved Parmesan
Inspired by Williams-Sonoma â€œChristmasâ€
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs, at room temperature
3-4 large slices of proscuitto (about 3 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.
In a medium sized saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter and salt to the boil. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to low and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Stir for 2-3 minutes, and then transfer the dough to the bowl of your mixer.
Add the parmesan and mix using a whisk attachment until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the Ã©clairs.
Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large star (or plain) tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in small circle-shaped puff shapes. Leave about 2 inches between each puff to allow them room to expand.
Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the gougeres have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 10 minutes or until the Ã©clairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20-25 minutes.
Allow the gougeres to cool, and then slice each one in half with a sharp knife. Place a small (2-inch) slice of prosciutto and a shaved slice of parmesan (shave a block of parmesan with a vegetable peeler to get this effect!) into each one. Replace the tops, and serve!
Makes about 20 gougeres.