One of the most basic differences between cooking in the US vs cooking in europe is the way that ingredients are measured. To generalize very broadly here, we american like to measure our ingredients by volume (for example with cups & spoons) while the europeans like to measure ingredients by weight. Before moving to Germany I had been warned to pack my measuring cups and spoons so that I could continue to use my american cookbooks. And then, not long after I arrived, I went out to buy a kitchen scale so that I could also make local recipes. It took a bit of getting used to at first, but now I find myself using the scale anytime a recipe provides weight measurements. It’s just so much easier and more exact and it switches easily between metric and imperial. I no longer have to sit and wonder if I should be spooning out my flour or scooping it, I just pour it into a bowl and move on, confident that I have the exact correct amount. I’ll stop rambling now, suffice it to say, I am a convert.
All of which brings us (in a rather round-about way) to the recipe at hand, Gougeres. This was the very first French Fridays with Dorie recipe ever, completed by the rest of the group in October 2010. I have in fact made gougeres a few times before using a different recipe and so I already knew two things: (1) that gougeres are delicious, and (2) that I have absolutely no will power around them. This second point is the reason why it has taken me so long to check this recipe off.
Gougeres, in case you haven’t had the pleasure yet, are little cheese puffs made with light & fluffy pate a choux dough (check the recipe out on epicurious.com). This is the same dough which is used to make eclairs, but with cheese mixed in instead of custard. These are a great snack to nibble on with cocktails. My friend said that they reminded her of a cheesy croissant. I thought that the flavor was a little more reminiscent of a cheese souffle, but either way, we both agreed that they were darn good. Not just that, and this is key, they are not at all difficult! Really!
I ended up using an ice cream scoop for mine which meant that they were a little bigger than Dorie’s and took exactly 25 minutes in the oven. I only made two batches and froze the rest of the dough for later, which is basically the only way I know of to keep myself from eating them all at once. We enjoyed these yesterday with aperitifs and happily munched on the leftovers at breakfast this morning. Now I’m already eyeing the bag in the freezer. See, I told you, no will power.