Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mini Gougere Sandwiches with Bacon, Pickled Onions & Arugula

Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
Makes about 24 bite-sized sandwiches, enough for 4 to 6 people

Mini Gougere Sandwiches with Bacon, Pickled Onions & Arugula 

24 gougères (see recipe below)
12 slices thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon, cooked, cut in quarters
pickled yellow onions (see recipe below)
about 2 oz baby arugula

Slice each gougère in half, cross-wise through the center.  Arrange two pieces of bacon (half a slice total) on the bottom half of the gougère.  Top with a few slices of pickled onions.  (Make sure to drain the pickling juice from the onions, then dry them slightly by blotting them with paper towels.)  Over the onions, arrange a few leaves of baby arugula, then top with the top half of the slice gougère.  Serve immediately.  

Pickled Yellow Onions

Pickled Yellow Onions

1 large yellow onion
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp salt

Slice the top end (not the root end) off of the onion, then slice it in half from top to bottom.  Peel off the skin, then slice cross-wise, from the top towards the bottom, forming half-rings of about 1/8-inch thickness. 
Combine the vinegar, water, bay leaf, thyme, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Add the sliced onions, and continue to simmer for 1 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Turn off the heat, and rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then refrigerate in an air-tight container until needed.  Will keep about 2 weeks. 


Gougères (Cheese Puffs)
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
Makes about 30 gougères

Gougères make wonderful little buns for mini sandwiches.  But they make for an incredible appetizer all on their own, too.  They taste like goldfish crackers for grownups.  Serve them with a great beer for a simple, delicious & sophisticated snack. 


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 400ᵒF, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Combine the water, milk, butter and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat.  Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. 

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, and setting the mixer to medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Make sure that the mixture is smooth and that the egg is fully incorporated before adding each next egg.  Once all the eggs are incorporated into the dough, add 1 cup Gruyère cheese, and beat the dough until is it smooth and shiny, about 1 minute more.  (If you don’t have an electric stand mixer, you can do the mixing by hand, with a wooden spoon.)

Fill a pastry bag with the dough.  Slice off the tip of the bag, to create an opening of about 1-inch diameter.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Holding the bag at a 90ᵒ angle to the baking sheet, and with the tip of the bag just above the pan, gently squeeze the bag (squeeze from the top of the bag with your right hand while guiding the tip with your left) to form a shape no wider than about 1 1/2-inches.  Push the dough out slowly and gently, until the height reaches about 1-inch.  To stop piping, stop applying pressure to the bag before lifting the tip, then push the tip down, and quickly jerk it upward.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each shape.  Once all the shapes are piped, dip your fingers into cool water and smooth out each shape into smooth, rounded domes.  Top evenly with the remaining half cup of grated cheese.  (These can be refrigerated, uncovered, for up to about six hours before baking – Then just pop them in the oven, right before your guests arrive.) 

Bake at 400ᵒF for 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 350ᵒF.  Continue to bake until the gougères are golden brown, firm, and cooked in the center, about 15 to 20 minutes.  (Taste one to make sure they’re cooked through.  If it tastes a bit eggy, they need a little more time.)  Cool a bit on a wire rack, and serve either warm or at room temperature.   (These are best baked at more or less the last minute.  But if you make them ahead of time, just reheat them a bit, say for five minutes or so, in a 350ᵒF oven.) 

Fresh-Baked Gougeres




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