These light and airy cheese puffs are transformed into little savoury flavour bombs with some crispy bacon, garlic and a bite of chilli in a cheese sauce. It might be a good idea to double the recipe as they never last long!
The puffs are made with a simple choux pastry (pâte à choux ) — water, butter, flour, eggs and sugar — which is also the basis of sweet cream puffs or eclairs. When the dough bakes, the inside becomes somewhat hollow, making it easy to fill. The French call savoury cheese puffs gougères.
Choux pastry might sound somewhat intimidating to make, but the key is to really stir the dough over the heat long enough until you have a ball of dough the consistency of play-dough. It also helps to let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before piping it out onto a baking sheet. Make sure you space the dough about an inch apart as these tasty treats puff up as the water in the dough turns to steam and expands into air pockets.
Whether you choose to add the chilli to the filling of this savoury cheese puffs recipe or not, is truly a matter of preference. You could also turn up the intensity of the cheese flavour by using a bold and salty cheese like gruyere or even parmesan instead of cheddar.
And because the cheese is incorporated into the filling and not in the pastry itself, you could simply turn them into sweet treats with whipped cream or custard.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 125 ml milk
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup diced bacon
- ½ cup onion
- ½ chilli chopped
- ½ clove crushed garlic
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter, sugar and salt in the water. Bring to a slow boil. Add the flour. Stir continuously until the mixture comes from the bottom of the pot. This process takes about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Put the mixture in your food processor / mixer. Start mixing to cool it down, before you add the eggs one by one, mixing the eggs in well.
- Pour the mixture into a piping bag.
- On a greased baking tray, pipe 16 circular puffs.
- Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to a paste. Add the milk little by little and keep stirring to prevent lumps. Season to taste and add cheese. Stir until melted.
- In a frying pan, fry the diced onion, garlic and chilli. Add the bacon. Add to the cheese sauce. Stir in the parsley.
- Set aside to cool.
- Slice the puffs in half and fill them with the cheese sauce. Garnish with parsley.
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