Truffled Gougeres, Champagne and Levitation

The best thing to nibble on while drinking wine or Champagne is without a doubt the gougeres. A delicious Burgundian invention which is a sort of cheese puff, only better. The cheesy batter puffs up magically to become miniature ‘hot air balloons’ that can be enjoyed plain or filled with…

[This post was momentarily hijacked by a lady at the coffee shop where i'm writing claiming that i've been sitting here for too long. I eloquently asked her to get lost before she started babbling words in some unknown dialect... could be some voodoo spell now i think of it. I resisted the invasion until i realized her denture was about to fall into my Cafe Latte... Scary! Only in New York kids!]

Where was i?… Oh yes the gougeres! The French are well- known for their love for stuffing things. They would stuff about anything on the surface of the earth. D’Artagnan for example is now selling prunes stuffed with foie-gras under the sexy name of “French Kisses“.. how appropriate! So to follow the stuffing tradition here’s what i do, using a small pastry bag i fill the gougeres with a thick truffle bechamel before serving them with a nice glass of chilled Champagne.Very festive… et tres bon!

What the heck levitation has to do with this post? huh… i don’t know! Just another one of my tricks to keep you reading until the end unless you believe that eating enough gougeres while drinking Champagne will activate their “hot air balloon” properties on your stomach and allow you to levitate in front of your friends. Now wouldn’t that be an awesome trick to show off at a party?

Truffled Gougeres

(yields 32 pieces)

For the gougeres:

  • 4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup milk plus extra for brushing

  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse sea salt
  • For the bechamel:

    • 3 level tablespoons of butter
    • 4 level tablespoons of flour
    • 3/4 cup of milk
    • 1-2 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup grated gruyere
    • salt
    • pepper
    • Fresh truffle/ truffle oil/ truffle puree (whatever you can afford)

    For the gougeres:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Bring the butter, milk, 1/4 cup water, salt, and pepper to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and baking powder. Stir well, and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    3. Place the cheese and the mixture in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, and beat until just warm. Add the eggs slowly as the mixer runs, until dough is smooth and shiny. (Alternatively, stir to cool by hand and beat in eggs with a wooden spoon.)
    4. Transfer to a pastry bag, and pipe in 1-inch mounds using a No. 4 tip, or drop with a teaspoon, on a sheet pan lined with parchment. (At this stage, the gougères can be frozen and then stored in a plastic bag. They do not have to be thawed before baking, but 11/2 to 2 minutes should be added to the cooking time.) Brush with milk, and sprinkle with cheese and sea salt.
    5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; when puffs are golden brown, reduce to 375 degrees and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature. May be reheated or filled using a small pastry bag.

    For the truffle bechamel:

    1. In a saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. As soon as it melts, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps, and increase the heat to medium-low. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk, and continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken – creamy without being too thick.
    2. Remove from the heat and stir in grated cheese, salt, pepper and truffle.
    3. Stir in the egg yolks and return to the heat, whisking briskly until well blended. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
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    • Big Boys Oven

      Oh this recipe is so lovely, I had it copied! thanks…..fantastic

    • Julie

      Note to self…must learn to cook…

      Mille mercis, Zen, pour toute la beaute de ton site.

    • beachlover

      Hey!Chef Zen…it’s taste like cream puff??..when I see your recipe…it’s seem quite hard but the name is so cool..Maybe I just drop at your place to buy it when I’m in Manhattan..hehehe!!

    • §pinzer

      zen. i have a question. i have always found myself in a very inadequate position to make a judgement when i try a top delicacy such as foie gras or truffles. I feel I am lacking the experience needed to truly enjoy it.

      how do I learn to appreciate it better? I want to buy and try, say, something made with truffles or foie gras, just to name a few, but I have no idea if what I’m tasting is ‘proper’. HELP!

    • Hello Rainbow

      Chris, what kind of question was that?? lol. You know what you should do, buy the most expensive authentic truffles/foie gras you can get,then hand it over to me for the taste-test(ahh.. hard work) so that I can tell you if they are ‘proper’ or not hohohohoho.. note, I will need at least a dozen of them to ‘properly’ taste it ya :P (zen is too busy so he asked me to help lol)

    • Zen Chef

      Chris, you can try to buy a foie gras terrine but don’t buy any fresh truffles! Truffle aroma can be evasive and easily lost if you do the wrong thing. When you take a whiff at them they should almost make you ‘high’ and quality varies greatly. So let the pro handle them for now and make the splunge when you can afford it in a fancy restaurant. Educate your tastebuds first, little by little. It doesn’t all have to be expensive.

      In order to enjoy fine wines, fine music, fine food, fine arts require you to be on a certain level. It’s a contemplative/meditative state. It comes with time, buy a bottle of wine once in a while and really taste it. The next time around buy something else and compare it. Learn to distinguish what you like and dislike about them. It’s all about being in the moment. You know what you taste is ‘right’ when it brings you pleasure. Don’t let ego or price fool you.

    • Zen Chef

      Chris….Val is right! Forget what i just said! Buy the expensive stuff and let her do the tasting! hahahaha

      Btw: Val..you’ll share with me right? ;-)

    • Chicken & Waffles

      I am a huge fan of the gougeres served at a midtown restaurant called Artisinal (Park & 33rd)–the notion of introducing truffles into them seems otherworldly and utterly divine.

    • La Belette Rouge

      Even the lady who interrupted your cheesy and delicious and stuffing filled post could enjoy these–as I imagine they melt in your mouth.

      And, Zen, you have made me long for a French Kiss ( the foie-gras filled prunes, not the actual smooch).

      As for levitation? It is my sense that these foods are so heavenly that to eat them would, for a time, allow one to temporarily transend the mortal coil.

    • Claude-Olivier

      comme d’hab, du bon boulot et de l’humour ^^! Très bonnes fetes a toi et à beintot!

    • b

      This is another delicious recipe that I am tempted to try at some point when I am feeling very bold! :)

    • Colleen

      Like my list of books to read and movies to watch, you keep adding to my list of recipes to make. Stop that!

      Like many parlor tricks, levitation via Champagne gas would be tops of my must-see list.

    • AzAzura

      Hi Zen chef,
      I will definitely give you the ALMOND SUGEE CAKE ONCE I get back home :o )

      Having helluva great time in Dubai
      xx Az

    • Rasa Malaysia

      I have never tried this but I can almost taste them from the list of ingredients you use. Yum!

    • Kate / Kajal

      hahaha u shud have just bat your eyelashes at her and done a bit of a lip pout, could’ve worked :P

      gr8 recipe , gosh there is so many things i need to try n make now. One more to my bookmark.

    • Big Boys Oven

      Merry Christmas and a jolly New Year !

    • redactedrecipes

      Oh, just kill me now or BRING SOME TO ME THIS MINUTE.

      Ann

    • wwenhuang

      I’ve got to give this recipe a try sounds wonderful. I am so jealous that your job is working with food!

    • Lashawna/Superspice

      I will NEVER read this blog while hungry AGAIN. I think I just gained 10 pounds. Can I make a request for something crispy and duck?

    • http://usb3gvn.com/ USB 3G Viettel

      I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog.