Ina First Fridays: Gougeres

This month, we're concentrating on appetizers. I make Ina's gougeres all the time, couldn't be simpler and everyone loves them. This photo is an old one, taken in a hurry before everyone grabbed them off the plate LOL. Don't they look light, puffy and cheesy?
You can shape the little gougeres and freeze them for up to 2 months before you bake them. There's no need to defrost the frozen puffs, just bake them a couple of minutes more. How easy is that?

From Barefoot in Paris, 2004

 1 cup milk
1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/4-inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.

Ina Fridays participants:


Potato Galette with Sautéed Asparagus and Fresh Peas

How perfect for a quick dinner! Just a simple potato pancake but topped with fresh veggies from your garden or farmer's market. 

Potato Galette with Sautéed Asparagus and Fresh Peas
From Mimi at her Manger blog

4 large potatoes 
3 small shallots, finely chopped
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
4 tbsp plain flour
Coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper
A bunch of asparagus (3-4 per person) (I used white asparagus)
1 cup fresh peas, shelled
A small piece of Cheddar cheese 
A dash of piment d’espelette
A few sprigs of fresh chives
A dash of freshly grated lemon zest
A tablespoon of crème fraîche per serving
Butter & olive oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and grate them into a large bowl. Add the chopped shallots, nutmeg, egg and egg yolk, flour. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a sauté pan until sizzling hot, scoop about a tablespoon or one and a half tablespoon (depending on how large you want the galettes), flatten them with a spatula. Cook them on both sides until golden. Grate a teaspoon of cheddar cheese on top. Place them on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
Peel the asparagus and cut off the stiff ends. Slice the asparagus in half. Sauté the asparagus in a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, stiring gently. After 5 minutes add the peas. Season with salt & pepper. Add a few tablespoons of water and continue to cook until absorbed and asparagus and peas are tender yet al dente.
To serve:
Place the potato galette on a serving plate, place the asparagus and peas on top, add a tablespoon of crème fraîche, season with salt & pepper and a dash of piment d’espelette. Sprinkle with lemon zest and finely chopped chives.
Makes about 8 galettes, depending on size.


Peach Slab Pie

Slab pies seem to be all the rage, not least because you don't have to fuss with the crust. Well, I fussed a little with the lattice, but you can just cover the peaches with a single crust and prick it with a fork if you really want easy. 
I combined several recipes to come up with this one...a little juicier than than an apple slab pie, which I have every intention of making this fall, but totally delicious and not too sweet, either. You can get lots of servings from a slab pie, another reason they're so popular.
Think ice cream would be fabulous on top? Oh yes.

Peach Slab Pie

Your recipe for crust, pate brisee, or use ready made
4 peaches, skinned by immersing in boiling water for a minute or so, peel, remove pit and slice somewhat thinly
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch salt
fresh lemon juice, about a tablespoon

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with nonstick foil, using 2 pieces so you have some overlap hanging over all sides. (The juice still seeps out and gets sticky, even with non stick foil...I'd spray the foil with Pam the next time. Can't hurt.) On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of dough to an 8 1/2 inch square and fit into the square baking pan, pressing into corners and a bit up the sides. Fold back the pastry on the sides, forming a container for the peaches. Chill while assembling filling. 
In a large bowl, stir together fruit, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Spread mixture over chilled pie shell. 
Chill again while you roll out the top crust. 
Roll out another piece of dough to the same size and either form a lattice top or lay the entire piece on top of the peaches. If you do the latter, be sure to vent the crust. Fold edge of bottom dough over top dough. Crimp if desired.  
Brush entire surface of pie with cream or an egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. 
Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.


Anita's Europe: Simply Irresistible Link Party: The Rialto Market in Venice

Ciao Venice!

This morning, we're going shopping at the famous Rialto Market via the Rialto bridge:

Elizabeth David, the cookbook author, portrays the Rialto markets as a visual feast:

"The light of a Venetian dawn is so limpid and so still that it makes every separate vegetable and fish luminous with a life of its own, with unnaturally heightened colours and clear stencilled outlines

"In other markets, on other shores, the unfamiliar fishes may be vivid, mysterious, repellent, fascinating, and bright with splendid colour; only in Venice do they look good enough to eat. In Venice even ordinary sole and ugly great skate are striped with delicate lilac lights, the sardines shine like newly-minted silver coins, pink Venetian scampi are fat and fresh, infinitely enticing in the early dawn."

And she was right. Look at this seafood!

And still more seafood!

How about some veggies and fruit?
(Look at those zucchini flowers and artichokes!)

Yes, it was irresistible! This is my daughter buying up a storm.

How about some ham, sausage and herbs?

Shopping is done for the day so I took my granddaughter on her first gondola ride! (Circa 2008.)

Come along with us......

Our last night, a drink in Piazza San Marco. (My son, daughter and granddaughter.)

Ciao, Venice!

To see all our Simply Irresistible blogs, click on
Anita's badge at the top of this post.


Dawn's Tomato and Cheddar Hand Pies

Nifty idea for you today. When Dawn mentioned her Tomato Hand Pies in one of her Friday links I didn't even write it down, but just let it simmer in the back of my mind until the opportunity arose to try them. So the other day I looked around my kitchen and was surprised to find: 1 single roll of Pillsbury pie crust rolled up in the freezer (!), some nice sharp leftover cheddar in the fridge and fresh garden tomatoes from a farm stand nearby (served yesterday with burrata for our lunch). Mental light bulb goes off...all the ingredients for the pies at hand so I could finally try Dawn's awesome looking little pies.
And awesome they were. You've got to make them. If you have some of your own homemade crust in the freezer, that's even better, but I didn't and the point was a quick lunch for two so I used packaged. No problem, these were scrumptious! That kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on the top? Perfect final touch.

Fresh Tomato and Cheddar Hand Pies
From Dawn at Vanilla Sugar Blog

Pie crust or premade pie crusts 
Tomatoes, sliced very thin 
Extra sharp cheddar 
Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt & pepper 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
Slice the tomatoes really thin, and let them dry out a bit on paper towels or you will get soggy hand pies.
I used one package of prepared pie crust, rolled it out a bit thinner and cut it in half. On half of each half, I used three thin slices of tomato and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Then I folded one half over the other, folded and crimped the edges with a fork.
Place a very thin slice of tomato on top of the hand pie, brush with a little extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make sure to prick a few holes on top to let any steam escape during baking. 
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges are nice and crispy brown. 


Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Bars

After seeing some fresh apricots in the market last week, I bought a sack and pulled out a couple recipes I've been saving. What followed? An apricot day in the kitchen...resulting in these marvelous cheesecake bars and then an upside down cake. Both were a big success and I'll be posting the cake in a couple weeks.
The bars have a cookie base with a touch of cinnamon. I used vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla bean and vanilla, so if you're wondering what the little black specks are throughout (if indeed you can even see them in the photos), there's your answer. Simmering the fresh apricots resulted in a delicious puree with a vivid color and if you make some extra, it would be fabulous with yogurt. 

Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Bars
From :pastry Studio

For the Apricot Puree
3 or 4 fresh apricots
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon  honey
1/4 vanilla bean

For the Bar Cookie Base
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the Filling
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg at room temperature

Halve the apricots, remove the pit and slice each half into 4 wedges.  Place in a small saucepan with the sugar, honey and a piece of split vanilla bean.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent scorching.  When sugar is dissolved, reduce heat and continue to simmer on low until the apricots have softened, about 4- 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Set aside to cool. *

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8" square pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment large enough to form an overhang along two sides of the pan.

Combine the flour, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the ingredients are combined.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2" pieces and add to the dry ingredients.  Process until it looks like coarse meal.  Combine the egg yolk, milk and vanilla and add.  Process until the mixture starts to form large clumps and holds together when pinched.  Press the dough into the prepared pan with floured hands.

Bake until the surface looks dry and slightly browned, about 15 - 20 minutes. 
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Beat room temperature cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and combine thoroughly.  Scrape down the bowl, add the egg and mix until smooth.  Pour into the crust. 

Place the cooled apricots in the bowl of a food processor and puree.  Drop spoonfuls on top of the cream cheese mixture.  Use a thin knife to make a swirl pattern in the puree. 

Bake until the edges are set with just a little bit of a jiggle at the center, about 20 -25 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  Chill until firm before cutting into squares, about 2 hours.

*Note: I made the apricot puree in advance and refrigerated it. Brought it to room temperature before swirling.


Rhubarb Cobbler

I'm loving all the rhubarb recipes being posted this time of year! They sure bring back memories of childhood summers for me. I remember my mother's rhubarb patch in the back yard; I can even picture exactly where it was and often wonder if it's still there after all these years. Her favorite way to serve it was stewed, which we'd have for our dessert with lunch. And her pies were divine, pure rhubarb, no additions. I do make her pie once in a while, but must admit I have more fun making crisps and scones, or trying some of the other more creative rhubarb desserts out there. 
This cobbler recipe was a bit unusual as cobblers most often have a biscuit type dough on top with the fruit underneath. This recipe is reversed: there's a cake-like batter on the bottom with the fruit pressed into the top. Traditional cobbler or not, this is a marvelous treat for dessert. Serve plain, with cream on the side or a scoop of ice cream.

Rhubarb Cobbler

From Saveur. January, 2007

3 cups chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. shortening

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb and brown sugar, mix well, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp. of the melted butter, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and sugar. Beat with a heavy whisk until a smooth batter is formed.

Grease a 9" × 11" pan with shortening. Pour in the batter. Spread rhubarb over batter and smooth it down so that the top is even. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm.


Related Posts with Thumbnails