Sunday Supper in Bucks County – Savory French Cheese Puff “Gougeres” Recipe
After the wedding, Jeff and I thought that a change of scenery would be an excellent idea. We hadn’t been to Pennsylvania since before Dana was born, but we have fond memories of our trips there…so, off we went on a perfect Autumn getaway.
Our first stop was The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. This is where we stayed previously and we knew from experience that it was a good base from which to tour the area. It seems that The Inn had been sold a few times since our last visit, but it was great to see that the new owners, Mark and Deanne, are proud first time innkeepers and that their standards are as high (if not higher) than the previous owners. They have ambitious plans for the future; including a new state of the art kitchen for their chef. Sadly, they only serve dinner Wednesday through Saturday, so we missed out on what sounded like delicious locally sourced meals from an up and coming young chef.
This Bucks County landmark was originally part of the William Penn Land Grant. The historic field stone manor house was built in 1740. Almost 200 years later it became the country home of Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, George S. Kaufman. Kaufman collaborated with other talented writers to produce some of Broadway’s best plays during the golden age of theater; such as: The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Can’t Take it with You and the Marx Brothers classic, Animal Crackers. In the sitting room of The Inn is a display case of memorabilia including pictures of his celebrity house parties. I have a feeling that many Sunday Suppers were held here surrounded by lots of laughter. I chuckle just thinking what Harpo’s antics might have been at the dinner table.
Speaking of the dinner table…we were hungry and the kitchen was closed. We consulted Deanne and were sent into Doylestown to Slate Bleu, a French Bistro which thankfully was one of the few restaurants open on Monday. We were delightfully surprised to find a bit of Provence in a cozy brick building on Main Street. Later we found out that the chef came to the area after working at La Grenouille in New York and the food reflected that classic culinary heritage.
We had a delicious dinner that included many small plates of French inspired goodness that all started with a savory amuse bouche that I’ve recreated here. Bursting with butter, cheese and egg, it was perfect with our first sip of wine. I thought that it would make a lovely appetizer for your next Sunday Supper with family and friends and these are perfect for the holidays.
Savory French Cheese Puff Recipe
Yield: 32 puffs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
A savory appetizer that is bursting with butter and cheese, perfect for the holidays.
1 cup milk
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs (1 for egg wash)
1 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (1/4 cup is for sprinkling on the top)
1/4 cup water (for egg wash)
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together 1 egg and water.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Stir ingredients making sure that all of the butter has melted.
Add the flour and reduce the heat to low and cook for about 2 minutes while mixing rapidly with a wooden spoon till the mixture pulls away from the saucepan.
Transfer dough into a large mixing bowl and let it cool for about 2 minutes. Start to beat in the 5 eggs one at a time making sure that each egg is thoroughly incorporated and dough returns to the original texture before adding another egg. Add the cheese and nutmeg.
Drop tablespoons of batter onto the lined baking sheets 1 inch apart (you may also use a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip).
Brush the tops with the egg wash then sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes till they are puffed and golden brown. Bake each batch separately on a rack placed in the center of the oven.
These are great served immediately, but can be made ahead and frozen. Let them cool on wire racks then store in a container in your freezer. When ready to serve, remove from container, place on baking sheets and reheat in a 350 degree oven till hot.