Blue cheese and onion gougères

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast -

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.

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