During Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s Christmas in November, I played Sous Chef during a number of Celebrity Chef’s seminars and sat back and learned at half a dozen more.
My realization; I can cook!
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any grandiose dreams to be a contestant on Top Chef Canada, but with my new found skills I plan to impress a few guests this holiday season!
And I plan to do it with Pâte à Choux.
A easy-enough to make french style pastry, typically used to make Chocolate Eclairs
I was first shown how to make this Choux Pastry from my bakery idols Giselle Courteau & Jacob Pelletier, the owners of Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton.
Side Note If you’ve never been to their bakery and had one of their scones, then you’ve not yet had the best scone in the world!
Now back to the Choux…
Later that weekend, as I took my seat in a seminar at Food Network Canada Chefs and cookbook authors Michael & Anna Olson, I was once again face to face with the Choux.
This time in a recipe for Bacon Cheese Puffs!
The exact same recipe but finished with a different flare; Bacon & Cheese!
Easy to find ingridents, a simple to follow recipe and a holiday appetizer that will out shine anything your sister-in-law Donna could serve!
Here’s the recipe that’ll have you ‘winning’!
CHEFS MICHAEL & ANNA OLSON RECIPES (as demonstrated at Jasper Park Lodge Christmas in November)
Bacon Cheese Puffs (Gougères)
Makes approx. 4 dozen 2-bite puffs
6 slices cooked smoked bacon, well-drained
1 1⁄4 cups 1% milk (310 mL)
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter (60 g)
1 1⁄4 cups all purpose flour (190 g)
3 large eggs
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (140 g)
1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (60 g)
1⁄2 tsp chili powder (2 g)
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Crumble the bacon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is the texture of crumbs. Remove and set aside (no need to wash the food processor bowl).
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and butter up to a simmer over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and use a wooden spoon to vigorously stir the paste mixture for about 2 minutes, until it pulls away from the pan. Scrape this into the food processor bowl and let cool 5 minutes.
Break the eggs into a cup and while pulsing the food processor, add the eggs one at a time, quickly pulsing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the bowl down in-between egg additions.
Add the Gruyere, Parmesan, chili powder and cooked bacon and pulse well until the cheese is blended into a paste.
Spoon this mixture (it will still be warm) into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe the batter into 1 1⁄2-inch (36 mm) rounds on the prepared baking trays, leaving 1 1⁄2-inches (36 mm) between them. If the rounds have little points from where you lifted up the piping bag, use your finger dipped in cool water to pat it down.
Bake the gougères for 25 to 30 minutes (do not use a fan, or lower the oven temperature by 25 F if you cannot turn off the fan), until they are a rich golden brown and are light when lifted off the tray. Allow the gougères to cool for at least 10 minutes on the tray before eating.
The gougères are best enjoyed warm, but can be eaten at room temperature. They can be made in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. These cheese puffs are made using a classic French pastry called choux paste (the same is used to make éclairs and profiteroles). What makes these a great holiday staple is that these can be made ahead and frozen, and used in a number of ways: as a bun for a slider, a base for a piped cheese or smoke salmon hors d’oeuvre, in place of croutons on a salad, as a garnish on a bowl of soup, or simply a nibble on their own.
Mr. Fab food for the holidays