Parmesan Bacon Gougères From 'Down South'


[Photograph: Chris Granger]

Donald Link's gougères in his new cookbook, Down South, are a far cry from the delicate hors d'oeuvre seen on passed appetizer trays at fancy receptions. Studded with pieces of crumbled bacon and infused with their rendered fat, these bite-sized puffs make for a seriously porky statement. Link enhances the bacon with a couple of generous handfuls of grated Parmesan—a step that adds another layer of umami and a touch of creaminess to the gougères.

Why I picked this recipe: Who could say no to bacony, cheesy puffs of dough?

What worked: Even with the additional bacon and cheese, Link's gougères still maintain the light airiness indicative of the French pastry.

What didn't: I'd recommend straining the rendered bacon fat before stirring it into the choux dough so that you don't add burnt flecks of bacon to the puffs.

Suggested tweaks: If your bacon doesn't render a full 1/4 cup of fat, you can make up for it with more butter. And if you don't have a stand mixer, you can beat the eggs into the dough by hand in the pot (remove it from the heat first).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Down South to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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