Disclaimer: I was too excited at the party where these were served to take after pictures! Rest assured that the final product is glorious to behold.
A few weeks ago we held my parents annual Christmas party for neighbors and friends. It’s my absolute favorite night of the year.
Well, at least it was until I offered to play a large role in the preparations.
Let me just say, it is A LOT of work!
I learned the hard way that when you’re the one slaving away in the kitchen for days beforehand, when you get to the party not only are you exhausted but you’re also somewhat resentful of your guests.
(What do you MEAN you don’t want another cheese puff Howard? You’ll eat it and you’ll like it.)
I jest, somewhat.
That being said, snacky foods are some of my favorite things to make and eat. My perfect dinner would involve grazing on a buffet of bite-sized, delicious things. Of course, all of these things would involve cheese which is what makes this dream unattainable.
But for all of you cheese eaters out there (all of you, I hope), I’m sharing my favorite fool-proof party app, a red pepper gougéres that my mother cut out of the NYTimes a century ago.
We have friends who basically won’t come over to our house unless there are cheese puffs served (which is the street name for gougéres). Because what’s not to love about baked cheese dough?
Hosting NYE this year? Here’s what you do: Make the dough ahead, then pop the gougéres in the oven once the guests arrive. Serve them piping hot, fill up the champagne glasses, toast, repeat.
Red pepper gougéres
(God only knows where this recipe came from but thank goodness it did)
Note: You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze indefinitely and thaw before baking.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (or TJ’s shredded gruyére blend)
2 tablespoons Parmesan or other hard cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place one cup water in a saucepan, add butter and gradually bring to a boil.
Once boiling, remove from heat and add flour all at once, mixing quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Return it to the heat briefly until it starts to film the pan – I didn’t know what this meant either but believe me, you’ll know and it doesn’t take long.
Remove from heat and beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in mustards, red pepper flakes, salt and cheeses.
Spoon onto baking sheet in mounds about 1.5 inches across. Bake 20 minutes or until set and slightly browned.