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Gorge on Gougères! C’est l’apéro!

 My poor non French people,

Forget about happy hour !
(does it mean that the 23 other hours you’ll spend today have to be sad?)!
Be French and perfect, and jump right into one of the best moment of a meal in France: l’apéritif.

The French love this time right before lunch or dinner so much that “l’apéro” is sometimes more like a meal in itself: you eat so much “hors d’oeuvres” that you’re not hungry enough to pursue with the meal!

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It’s a great way also to invite people over that you don’t know that much yet: passer prendre l’apéro is far less formal than coming to diner, and a great way to see if you connect…

My mom used to throw a lot of “apéritif dinatoire” when I was a kid: she would invite people for drinks, put prepared lots of things for them to munch on and chat at the same time. She loved the fact that it allowed her to prepare everything before and then enjoy her friends more than a traditional dinner (one thing about my mom: she’s even more bavarde than I am gourmande…)

I also love apéritif of course, and thought of sharing with you guys a real classique de chez classique:

Les Gougères au fromage

IMG_93311 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
3  eggs
2.5 ounces Gruyère cheese (or Mimolette!), cut in 1/2″ cubes

Gougères come from a part of France where people know what they’re talking about when they speak about wine and good food: Burgundy.

Yes, the land of the Boeuf Bourguignon has also given birth to another culinary French treasure…

The thing is, people in Burgundy are also making some of the best wines in the world. So when you come to their cellars and taste their awesome wines, Burgundy vignerons make sure that you”re having the best food with it.
Something that has a great texture, but whose flavour won’t override the subtle taste of their wine. Like gougères for example.

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The story goes that it was invented by the pâtissier of a small village, Flogny-la-Chapelle, where people still celebrate the local speciality with a Fête de la gougère; a Gougère festival, every 3rd Sunday of May. (Oui, there are thousands of strange festivals like this in France, and oui, the French love to go there!)

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One thing is for sure, it’s that the way they are made is really typical of traditional French cooking, with a process that it at the chore of the art of French pastry, la pâte à choux.

Pâte à choux was developped under the reign of Queen Catherine of Medicis. Her chef, Poppelini, started mixing butter and water over heat, and called it “pâte à chaud“; dough on heat… The name changed into pâte à choux, but the technique stayed and is one of the big revolution of French cooking. (BTW you can now eat the best petits choux in Paris at a pastry that has decided to take the name of their inventor, Poppelini)

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I used to be scared of pâte à choux, but the technique is actually very easy. And once you got it, it’s perfect to throw last minute magic bites, with things you must always have home:  flour, butter, eggs and cheese.

gougere

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the water, salt, and the butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir well. When it has reached the boiling point, pour in the flour immediately. Stir very steadily with a wooden spatula. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir again for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. The dough should dry slightly.
  • Take the saucepan off heat and let it cool a little, then pour the beaten eggs over the dough. Stir well, never stopping. Beat it vigorously until the mixture is really smooth, but not too thick.
  • Add the cheese cubes and beat well for 2 minutes at least, until the cheese melts in the dough.
  • Using a tablespoon, make small balls of dough and put them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the gougères are golden

gougere
Bon appétit les amis!

 

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1 Comment On This Topic
  1. Cathe posted
    February 2, 2015 at 4:16 am

    I made these to accompany our aperitifs this evening. I’m linking the recipe on my blog. They turned out great and I froze the leftovers. Easy and delicious recipe. Oh..I got it from the book:)


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