A bacon and cheese puff (gougère) recipe for the reddit 52 wk baking challenge
When people ask what appetizer they should make, my first question is always, “Is it to go with cocktails, for an informal dinner, or for a party?” Depending on the answer, my response might include cheese and crackers, olive poppers, or this bacon cheddar popcorn. But for every occasion, the answer will always include gougères (cheese puffs made from choux pastry). Because this bacon and cheese puff recipe is easy to make once you understand choux. And this recipe makes about 50 bacon cheese puffs, enough for almost any occasion.
This bacon and cheese puff recipe was also created for the reddit 52 weeks of baking challenge, week 18: pâte à choux. For ages I have wanted to make eclairs again, but, alas, I needed an appetizer for my own party. Eclairs will have to wait til next year’s challenge.
Choux is yet another formula (2 water: 1 butter: 1 flour) that can be found in Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio. So far I’ve used these ratios successfully to create my own variations on quick bread (kale and cheese quick bread), waffles (orange poppy seed waffles), and most recently shortbread cookies (lemon lavender cookies).
I made a couple of batches of this recipe because I wasn’t happy with how the first deflated, even if they tasted delicious (i.e. there were no complaints at the party). That batch included a bit too much cheese and bacon and was cooked at a lower temperature. Cutting the cheese and bacon in half (I know, I’m sorry.) and upping the temperature to start seemed to do the trick.
The cooked water, butter, and flour in the pan.
The puff batter after mixing for a minute in the food processor.
If you don’t have an extra set of hands, I find that a large coffee cup really helps to hold the piping bag as you fill it with the puff batter. Fold the bag over as far as you can in order to get the batter as low as possible into the bag.
While gruyere is classic in a gougère, almost any meltable cheese would work. Think Parmesan, cheddar, or even a blue cheese. Mmmm figs and blue cheese.
I’m thinking I’d like a glass of champagne or a gin martini, right about now.
Yes, if you need to make several batches ahead of time for a party, you can make them, cool them completely, and freeze them in a freezer bag. Reheat them gently in the oven.
Leave out the cheese and bacon and fill them for puffs or profiteroles. Pipe them into lengths for eclairs. Choux is so versatile. You can read here all about choux pastry.
Bacon and cheese puff (gougère) recipe
- Food processor or stand mixer
- Baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats (2)
- 8 oz (1 cup) water
- 4 oz (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 4 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped fine
- 1 oz gruyere or other cheese, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil over medium heat.
- Once the butter has completely melted, turn the heat down to medium-low, add the flour, and stir continuously for about 5 minutes, mashing and stirring.
- Let the mixture cool for a minute or two and then put it into your food processor (or stand mixer).
- In a food processor, remove the feed tube to let the hot air escape. Turn the machine on and let it run for a minute to cool the mixture.
- Add the eggs very slowly while the machine runs and then process/mix for about one minute. The mixture will be shiny and still liquid enough that it does not hold firm peaks.
- Pipe the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, keeping the puffs about an inch apart. If the puffs have peaks after piping, smooth them down with a wet finger.
- Put the baking sheets into the oven and turn the oven down to 425°F. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for about another 20 minutes until the puffs are firm on the outside and mostly dry on the inside (you'll just have to try one!).
- If the outsides are brown but the insides are not completely dry, turn off the oven and leave the baking sheets in the oven with the door slightly ajar for another 30 minutes or so.
If you make this bacon and cheese puff recipe or have questions about how to make it, please comment and/or share a pic!
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Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao
Week 7: new tool – baguette baker
Week 8: chocolate – chocolate peanut butter bonbons
Week 9: timed bake – under 1 hour! chocolate chip scones
Week 10: allergy/diet restriction – macarons
Week 11: quick breads – kale and cheese quick bread
Week 12: signature bake – purple cow bread
Week 13: enriched breads (kale and cheese babka fail)
Week 14: childhood favorite –fudgy triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting
Week 15: decorating challenge – purple velvet cake
Week 16: crispy crunchy – bacon cheddar popcorn
Week 17: p52 of your favorite cookbook, or your favorite blog – chocolate peanut butter drip cake
Next week: a sweet made from vegetables