Asiago and Leek Gougères

Temps des Fêtes 2006
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

Crusty cheese puffs are airy nibbles that are also terrific with soup. The dough can be baked as loaves or more traditionally as small puffs (see TIP below).

1 medium leek
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (250 mL plus 25 mL) water, divided
½ cup (125 mL) butter
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) dry mustard
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cayenne
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
4 eggs
¾ cup (175 mL) grated Asiago cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Cut off and discard deep green portion of leek. Cut remaining leek in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, washing away grit caught between layers. Thinly slice crosswise, discarding root end. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add sliced leek; when sizzling, add 2 tbsp (25 mL) water; cover for 3 minutes. Then uncover and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove leeks to a plate to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil coated with nonstick spray. Heat 1 cup (250 mL) water, butter, salt, dry mustard and cayenne in a large saucepan over medium heat until water is hot and butter melts. Add flour; stir frequently for 5 minutes or until mixture easily forms a large ball. Turn ball into bowl of an electric mixer; break up and cool 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula, stir in cheese, sautéed leeks and parsley.

4. Spread dough into 4 loaves about 12 inches (30 cm) long, 2 to a baking sheet. Smooth and shape with wet hands. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 30 minutes or until top is richly golden. Cool slightly, diagonally cut into slices and serve. (Or to store, cool gougères completely on a rack. Cut each in half diagonally for easier handling. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze. To serve, reheat on a cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 350ºF (180ºC), then cut.)

Tip: To make into individual small puffs, drop by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared pans. (Resist the urge to make bigger as dough expands 2 to 3 times the original volume.) Bake in batches, if needed, for 25 minutes in preheated oven.
Makes 56 bite-sized puffs

Makes 24 generous pieces

What to Serve