When I was younger I sometimes tried to make choux puffs and put pudding or ice cream in them for a dessert. But since they always came out flat it was difficult to put things in them. For my birthday party back in July I made savory choux puffs with cheese, and Sumana loved them so much that I kept making them, and eventually I had paid my puff-making dues and my puffs started actually coming out puffed.
Sumana wanted me to put up the recipe even though there's nothing special about my recipe, so here it is. Maybe I can help with technique.
The recipe uses my patented "1 of everything" measurements. I call them Rustic because to save time I dole them out with a spoon instead of a pastry bag, so they are a little lumpy. As all restaurant-goers know, Lumpy equals Rustic and vice versa.
- 1 cup water
- 1 pinch each salt and pepper
- 1 stick butter (only half a cup, but at least it's 1 of something)
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs, at room temperature (nb. since a large egg is about 2 ounces this is 1 cup of eggs! But you probably won't remember that.)
- 1 cup semisoft cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter, salt, and pepper in the water and boil it. As soon as it comes to a boil, dump the flour in and stir it into a big ball. Transfer it to the mixer bowl, or use a hand mixer, because you're really going to need to clobber this dough. I'm pretty sure that insufficient clobbering was the cause of the flatness of my earlier attempts (my other guess is cold eggs; I haven't yet run an experiment to see which it is).
Start clobbering and add the eggs one at a time. Once the mixture looks thoroughly clobbered, add another egg. Then add the cheese and clobber some more.
Scoop with a spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Parchment paper or a Silpat mat on the cookie sheet help a lot. Knife the puffs when they come out of the oven so they don't get soggy. Then either eat them or let them sit a while, cut them open, and fill with something. My favorite filling right now is duxelle (basically sauteed mushrooms and onions) and MORE CHEESE. I am trying to think of something with kalmata olives. For truly lowbrow cheese puffs you could just fill them with Cheez Whiz.
This makes 24 cheese puffs, or 2 cookie sheets' worth.