Light and Airy Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls?!

My family loves dinner rolls with our Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. They claim they are an integral part of the whole experience. After all, how else would one sop up all the turkey gravy goodness? I know, a major conundrum for most families. But most rolls are so boring and do we really need another carbohydrate on the plate? As I start to say no, I happen to open the local paper and VOILA, there is my answer to boring rolls, GOUGERES.  They are French and in their most recognized state as a dessert, they are called Pate Choux, crème puffs for a better name. But, GOUGERES pronounced goo-zhair are the savory version. As I read the ingredients, I knew I had the solution to boring. These puffs can have any number of herbs and cheese or anything else your little heart desires and they are not that hard to make, but they taste like they took all day! That should impress the family. Ha!
I quickly decide the ingredients needed a little tweak to satisfy the tastes of my family and replaced all purpose flour with whole grain and changed the cheese to a combination of Monterey Jack and Cheddar and added dill. The whole grain flour will keep the puffs from rising up high, but the taste is a light, buttery, cheesy taste of heaven . You can substitute with gluten free flour as well. Have all the ingredients ready to go because it is a quick and easy process with results that will have your family and guests singing your praises.
GOUGERES recipe adapted from Star Tribune
1 stick butter (unsalted)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup whole grain flour
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 to 1 cup of water
1 cup finely grated Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, ¼ cup extra for topping
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dill
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the butter, water and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat, stir until boiling and butter has melted. Remove from heat when it reaches boil and add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously with whisk or wooden spoon until dough comes together in a mass. Return the pan to heat and whisk until a thin film appears at bottom.
Scrape the dough into a large metal mixing bowl or a stand mixer for a minute to cool it a bit. Add the eggs in four increments, letting each addition be absorbed completely into the dough before adding the next. I beat the mixture by hand because I like to “feel” the consistency. It was an easy task.
Beat in the cup of cheese, mustard, pepper and dill until well blended. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment about an inch apart or you could use a pastry bag . Lightly brush tops with egg mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes longer until they are golden brown.
Top each gougere with grated cheese when done and return pan to oven to melt. About one minute. Serve warm. Oh, and you might want to grab one for yourself, because by the time you sit down to eat they will be just a delicious memory.
Makes 18 to 24 depending on technique.
Michele Errichetti is from South Jersey born and fed. She comes from an Italian family where they eat, live, and breathe FOOD. Michele was cooking and eating under her grandmom’s feet every Sunday for “gravy” and at home with her mother ( a Medigan’ or American) during the week. Nowadays, she cooks for her two sons, husband, and father most days of the week. She takes “Girl Road Trips” with her friends at least once a month that always culminate with you guessed it, FOOD. She hopes fresh, local, organic, and free range will become the norm. Michele is searching Atlantic County for everything that has anything to do with good food and she’s taking you along for the ride.