Libby Sloan has had a fascinating life, especially when it comes to the culinary arts. Sloan has lived in France for 41 years and started one of the first cooking schools outside of Paris in Lyon in 1979, Les Gastronomes de Paris, with some of the top chefs in the region teaching regional recipes to expatriates in the kitchens of their own restaurants. The school is still in existence today. In 1990 she returned to Paris where she taught French cooking in her own home for 17 years. Sloan has been coming to Sarasota for more than 50 years and has been a resident of south Siesta Key for the past 12 years.
Gougères are from the Burgundy region of France. A perfect gougère is a lovely bite-size round mound of choux pastry mixed with tasty cheese; it has a gorgeous golden crust and a tender light interior. Gougères date back to medieval times but became popular in the 18th century served during wine tastings. They are a perfect pairing with a good Burgundy wine before dinner.
Cheese Puffs from Burgundy
(Makes about 40 to serve with drinks)
4 large eggs
1 cup & 2 tablespoons (130 g) pre-sifted flour
8 1/2 tablespoons (120 g ) butter
3/4 to 1 cup (60g) & about 1/2 cup (20 g) (for sprinkling on top) grated cheese (gruyère or emmenthal or Swiss cheese)
2 to 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
2. Mix the salt, butter and 1 cup (250 ml) water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Rapidly remove the pan from the heat and add all the flour at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to create a smooth dough. Reheat about 1 minute over a medium heat to dry out the mixture just a bit. Keep stirring the whole time.
4. Put the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Add the eggs one at a time and the 1 cup (60g) cheese. Mix well until the eggs and cheese are thoroughly mixed into the dough. The dough can be made up to 5 hours ahead of time, but do not refrigerate. Cook at the last minute for best results. The gougères puff up best when the dough is still warm..
5. Using a spoon, squeeze onto a cookie sheet into mounds of about 1 inch or slightly less in diameter.
6. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated cheese and 2-3 TB of parmesan cheese. Bake in a hot oven at 425ºF for about 13-14 minutes ( this time is in a convection oven; it could be slightly longer in a traditional oven). Puffs should be golden. I always cook them an extra minute once they are golden. If they are not cooked enough, they will fall flat when cooling!
NOTE: Surprisingly, these can be frozen on a cookie sheet with the cheese on top. To cook, put frozen as is in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes.