Holiday Recipe: Manchego-Paprika Gougères

Manchego-Paprika Gougères
Maria Zizka will be sharing holiday recipes with us throughout December. Here's an hors d'oeuvre!

Manchego-Paprika Gougères

Baking these airy cheese puffs is one of the quickest and tastiest ways I know to make a house smell incredible. Gougères can be finicky -- like soufflé, they can fail to puff up if something isn't quite right -- but this recipe works every time.

Makes 18 gougères

½ cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 cup grated manchego
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place them in the freezer to chill.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk, butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup water. When the butter melts, add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Continue cooking the dough, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool for a few minutes.

Crack 1 egg into the bowl, then whisk to quickly incorporate. Add 3 more eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. (A stand mixer with the whisk attachment comes in handy here, but with a little muscle you can definitely whisk in the eggs by hand.) Stir in the paprika and ¾ cup of the manchego.

Using two spoons, scoop and place 9 mounds of batter on each baking sheet. (You can use a piping bag to form perfectly shaped balls, but I actually adore the charm of slightly misshapen gougères.) Brush them with an egg wash made of the remaining egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the gougères with the remaining ¼ cup manchego. Bake for 10 minutes, reverse the position of the two baking sheets, then bake for 15 minutes longer. Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Using a sharp knife, pierce each gougère to let some hot steam escape. Leave the gougères in the turned off oven to cool slowly. This step will help prevent deflated gougères--they should be crisp on the outside and hollow on the inside. Serve warm.

(Gougères can be made ahead, cooled completely, and frozen. Just before serving, reheat them for a few minutes in a 350ºF oven.)

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