Before I get into this (absolutely astoundingly amazing and delicious) recipe, I would like to apologize for my unannounced absence. I didn't think that exam week would hit me as hard as it did, but I was wrong. I do have a new job that has gotten me very much re-interested in cooking and baking, so I am now 100% back and ready to share my creations once again.
Now, onto the cheese puffs (or gougeres, if you prefer). You can certainly make these with any kind of cheese you like. I used Parrano Cheese, a Gouda with an Italian flavor, because I picked it up at Whole Foods and I really wanted to showcase it. The only consideration to take into account if using a different cheese would be to adjust your amount according. With something very strong, a Parmiggiano Reggiano or a blue, I would recommend using less cheese, and more with something very mild.
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1 cup flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and butter to a simmer with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
2. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two. The dough should pull away from the sides of the pan and be very thick and slightly shiny. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you could do this by hand also, but the mixer is easier).
3. Mix the dough for a few minutes to cool it off. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Add the cheese and mix until combined.
4. Move the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round or star tip (I used a star). Pipe onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet in little spiral mounds.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and just barely golden.
6. Serve warm from the oven and enjoy!
Currently, I'm reading... The Known World, by Edward P. Jones.