Blue cheese and onion gougères
And for the rest of the week
The creme fraiche and blue cheese cream is seriously good inside jacket potatoes – a great fix for a cook’s post-Christmas lethargy. Add a knob of butter and a grating of gruyère. Serve with a green salad, and you have a feast. Prep Cook Makes 20 min 25 min 30
100g unsalted butter
½ medium red onion, finely chopped (about 50g)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp mustard powder Cayenne pepper 150g plain flour 4 eggs, beaten
75g gruyère, grated 220g stilton or other blue cheese
For the filling 150g creme fraiche 1-2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil 1 handful chives, finely chopped A quick fix for a dinner party canape, these are much easier if you have all the ingredients laid out before you start.
Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/gas 6 and line two oven trays with baking paper.
Melt 20g butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Sweat for 10 minutes, or until soft. In a large saucepan, heat 250ml water, the rest of the butter, the salt, mustard powder and several pinches of cayenne pepper, until the butter is melted. Do not allow it to boil.
Add all the flour at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan – about a minute. Take off the heat and leave to cool for five minutes.
Beat in a third of the egg mix, until well combined, before adding the egg in two more stages, beating well each time. You should have a sticky dough. Stir in the gruyère and half the blue cheese. Using two teaspoons (or a wide-tipped piping bag, if you have one), drop small, round blobs of mixture the size of walnuts on to the lined trays, leaving 4-5cm between each, to allow them to spread.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the gougères are a rich golden brown and crisp on all sides (if you undercook them, they will sink after coming out of the oven). They should feel light and hollow.
Leave them to cool a little while you make the cream. Briskly beat the remaining blue cheese with the creme fraiche and oil, and add plenty of black pepper. Cut open the gougères across the middle and sandwich together with a dollop of the cream, or pipe a rose on top. Scatter with chives and serve warm.