My latest crush is this new incarnation of gourgeres, or cheese puffs. These were inspired by the classic French ham-and-cheese sandwich, Croque Monsieur. If you're serving only one thing with cocktails before dinner, it would have to be these heavenly puffs. They're perfect for "popping" in between sips of a Pear Thyme Fizz or Peach 75. ** Make sure you use an exciting gruyere cheese or possibly with cheddar jack for a little kick.
- Adjust rack to the middle of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
- Combine water, milk, butter, salt, and ham in a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- All at once, add the flour and stir in quickly with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring-the mixture will come away form the sides of the pan and become thick and stiff. Keep stiring and turning over for about 1 minute (you want it to dry out a bit).
- Transfer the dough to an electric mixer, and turn mixer on medium-high speed. Add 1 egg and as soon as it is partially incorporated, increase mixer speed to high. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time when the previous egg is well incorporated. The mixture should be smooth. Mix in the cheese and chives.
- IF you have a strong arm, the dough can also be mixed by hand with a wooden spoon in a mixing bowl. Proceed as directed, and be sure to beat the dough until smooth before mxing in the cheese and chives. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with cooking spray. (Watch the puff bottomes closely to prevent over-browning if not using parchment.) By heaping teaspoonfuls, drop the mixture onto baking sheets in little balls, spaced apart. They shoud be the size of large marbles or jaw-breakers. (You can also pipe them out using a pastry bag.).
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm. You can bake these a few hours in advance and reheat in the oven as well!