Last Thursday I had the pleasure of serving dinner to 100 guests of the Greater Verde Valley Chapter of the Yavapai College Foundation. The French Flair event was created to raise money for Yavapai College student scholarships. In addition to the dinner, the GVVCYCF hosted a silent auction and local artists contributed their talents to the Painted Barrel Project (http://www.cottonwoodchamberaz.org/pdf/Painted_Barrels_Overview.pdf).
I cooked for two days straight. Here’s the menu:
Gougere (cheese puffs with black pepper)
A selection of cheeses
Vegetable platter with a hot dipping sauce
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Carrots with butter
Crepes Suzette with fresh strawberries and whipped cream
It would not have been at all possible to serve this dinner without the help of many people. My friend JoAnn, my Student Affairs colleagues, Ty S., Shaun, volunteer students from the nursing program, and my wonderful husband all contributed to making the food and service of that dinner a success.
Here’s my recipe for the Gougere.
1 cup water
¾ cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 large eggs,
½ cup shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of water for glaze
In a heavy based sauce pan, bring water, butter and salt to a boil. As soon as the butter has melted, remove from the heat, and add the flour all at once. Quickly, beat the mixture with a wooden spoon. It will be lumpy at first, but keep beating until all the flour is absorbed by the liquid. As soon as it is all blended together, place the pan over low heat and continue beating until a light film begins to form on the bottom of the pan. This evaporates any excess moisture so the mixture will absorb all the eggs you will beat in shortly. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually, add one egg, beating vigorously after the addition to well incorporate it. Add the next four eggs, one at a time, beating so each is well incorporated. Once all the eggs are added in, you should have a firm, but not stiff dough. Add the cheeses and the black pepper, mix thoroughly.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round pastry tip, fill it to almost full, and begin making dollops of the dough on a pre-greased cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can drop dollops from a tablespoon onto the sheet. Brush the top of each Gougere with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with a grind of fresh black pepper.
Bake in a pre-heated 425⁰ oven for 15-20 minutes. The Gougere should be puffed and brown. Cool on a wire rack. These are great with a dry white wine as an appetizer served warm or cold.