Cheetos don’t really love me.
Actually, it’s a very destructive relationship. I try to spend as much quality time with them as possible. In turn, they do their best to give me high cholesterol and love handles. It’s a very unhealthy relationship.
So needless to say when I came across this intriguing recipe for real homemade cheese puffs I was ecstatic and prepared to kick the Cheetos to the curb. The first thing that struck me about the cheese puffs featured in the Barefoot in Paris cookbook was their use of Gruyere cheese. I was hooked before I tried them.
As you probably know, Gruyere is a beautifully rich Swiss cheese (no holes in this version).
To me Gruyere has a complex and slightly sweet flavor – kind of like a less briny version of Parmesan. And speaking of Parmesan, this recipe has a little of that too. I mean, what’s not to love?
The base of these cheese puffs is the French dough, pâte á choux. It’s the same dough you’d use for profiteroles or éclairs. But don’t let the name or the dough’s origin fool you, it’s a very easy dough to prepare – I have never messed it up and that’s saying something.
I love the flavor of these puffs. They have this yin yang, sweet, briny flavor combo from the Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, respectively.
The other stand out is the fact that they actually ‘puff’ up leaving you with a final product that’s slightly crusty of the outside and hollow and light in the center….delicious.
I usually topped the puffs off with a little minced Parmesan and chopped herbs (in this case dill)
NOTE: Despite the fact that I do own a proper piping bag set, as you can tell by the above picture, I still use this homemade piping bag made from a Ziploc bag. I don’t know how to explain why I do this. But you know what they say, you can take the boy out of Alabama but it’s useless if he’s just moving up the road to Mississippi.
GRUYERE CHEESE PUFFS
Via Barefoot in Paris Cookbook
1 cup milk
¼ lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 TSP kosher salt
1/8 TSP freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese. Plus more for sprinkling
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 TSP water, for egg wash
½ cup of finely chopped dill, for garnish
In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Immediately add eggs, Gruyere and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 ¼ inches with and ¾ inch high onto the baking sheets.
With a wet finger, lightly press down on the swirl at the top of each puff. Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.
Makes about 40 puffs.