Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Pâte à choux is a wonderful, versatile dough that should be part of every cook’s repertoire. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me as long as it did to try my hand at it, but now that I’m on board, my new favorite past time is coming up with pâte à choux variations.
Variation number one was made immediately after consuming every last one of the cream puffs drizzled with dulche de leche. I had leftover dough and, knowing that they were simply pâte à choux with cheese mixed in, gougères, in other words cheese puffs, seemed like the next logical incarnation. After all, we were all suffering from a pretty bad cream puff sugar high and needed something savory to get our feet back on the ground.
While researching pâte à choux the first time around, I read that a friend of Michael Ruhlman’s used up leftover duck confit by piping pâte à choux over little mounds of it. I had been obsessed ever since and figured if I was already adding parmesan to the mix, why not throw some duck confit in there as well?
Excellent idea friend of Michael Ruhlman! These were even more addictive than the cream puffs. Something about the warm dough wrapped around the salty parmesan and rich duck was totally irresistible. Next up, I am going to have to make my own duck confit so I have a supply at the ready whenever the craving hits – not to mention the added benefit of avoiding the $13 per leg of duck confit.
Gougères with Duck Confit
Ratio from Michael Ruhlman
(Water: Butter: Flour: Eggs)
1 cup (8 oz) water
4 oz butter (a bit less than a stick – weigh if you can)
4 oz flour
4 eggs (large eggs are about 2 oz per egg)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup of shredded duck confit (one duck leg will yield close to 1 cup)
Preheat oven to 425*
Place the butter and water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is simmering. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the side of the pan. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add one egg at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. You can mix the eggs in by hand, in the same pot if you prefer. Stir in the parmesan.
Place the dough in a piping bag with a plain tip or a large Ziploc bag with one corner cut off. Place 1 t mounds of duck confit about two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pipe the dough over the mounds so the confit is completely covered and place in the 425 oven for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 375 and continue cooking until fully cooked - about 20 more minutes depending on the size. Just look for them to be golden brown all over and you’ll know you’re done.