When it comes to holiday cocktail party fare, it’s hard to beat gougères (New York Times version here).
Beautiful, golden, puffy bites of airy cheese pastry *loves*
Here are two more cheese-based pastry nibbles that stand the test of time.
SAUSAGE CHEESE BALLS
1 lb hot sausage
3 cups bisquick
10 oz sharp cheddar
Ingredients must be room temperature. Squeeze raw sausage out of casings. Mix together into pastry and roll into small balls. Can be frozen at this point. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
A friend of ours keeps threatening to throw a Spain-inspired party. We’ll be adding saffron and manchego to these babies for the occasion. See Cook’s Illustrated version below.
OLIVE CHEESE BALLS
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 lb sharp cheese
Pinch of salt
Mix like pastry and wrap around olives. Bake at 350 f until browned.
New York Times
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (about 7 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup freshly grated Emmenthal, Gruyère, Cantal or Cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese.
1. Lightly grease two baking sheets and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, butter and salt. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until butter melts. Add flour all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until dough holds together in a ball, 5 minutes or less. Dough will get stiffer as you stir; keep stirring until dough is smooth. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl or the workbowl of a standing mixer.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating hard after each addition (this is a little bit of work; a hand mixer will probably not be powerful enough). Stop beating when mixture is glossy. Stir in the cheeses.
4. Drop teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake until puffed and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 30 to 40 gougères.