Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm finally on to posting about what I've been cooking this Christmas season. I've been experimenting with lots of new appetizers and hosted quite a few get-togethers. I'm getting a lot of practice entertaining!

I think I've got the food part down pretty well in terms of entertaining...although it's still a little difficult to plan a menu with more than three dishes that all work together. But the part that is most daunting to me is the whole role of being a hostess. Being relaxed, conversational, and happy while people are tearing apart the food you spent hours planning and preparing and tracking dirt all over the house you took all day to clean.

My problem is that I want everything to be perfect...except...I was reading this book the other day that said the whole key to being hospitable is being imperfect. If your house looks like a magazine, your guests won't be comfortable. They may be awed, but they won't be at ease. So I've been trying to take that to heart. It's hard to let things go, but I'm learning.

Anyway, these little puffs of goodness called gougères, which are baked savory choux pastries.

The recipe is from William Sonoma's Bride & Groom Cookbook.


3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups grated Gruyère cheese (I used cheddar)
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the butter and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add all of the flour at once, quickly stirring with a wooden spoon until the batter is glossy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. The dough will form a ball around the spoon.

Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. (I had to use my electric mixer here.) Stir in the cheese, cayenne, and salt.

Use 2 spoons or a pastry bag without a tip (I chose the spoons as you can tell by the time I will use the bag to make them puffier.) to form 1" balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the balls double in size and turn golden brown and a thin bladed knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly or completely before serving.

All Ryan could say was, "Yum!" before he popped another into his mouth! :)


  1. I agree with you about entertaining, Amy. I struggle to relax and not clean up after people and fret about things not being just so.

    I love making gougeres and this look great!

  2. Oh I hear ya!! I'm such a perfectionist but the book you read is right, your guests, nor you are comfortable if everything is too neat. It puts unnecessary pressure on you as the host. While I totally agree, it's very hard to put that into practice!

  3. These sound so good. I like a nice simple appetizer like this. I'm the same way with entertaining. I do have to admit that I'm kind of sad Christmas over. Despite the stress, I didn't get to do a whole lot of entertaining this year and I kind of missed it.