In their simplest form, Gougères, a savory French choux pastry, are only flavored with Gruyère cheese. But what if you have some bacon lying around that? That bacon needs a home. A light, puffy, cheese-flavored home. Bake a batch of James Villas's French cheese and bacon puffs from The Bacon Cookbook for easy, bite-sized appetizers. If you want to lighten the puffs, Villas suggests using equal amounts of shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheese.
- 1 cup water
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 pound slab bacon, rind removed, finely diced
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, butter, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon till a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating with an electric mixer on high speed till the batter is just thick enough to hold soft peaks. Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill briefly.
In a large skillet, fry the bacon dice over moderate heat till crisp and drain on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a large baking sheet.
Fold the cheese and bacon into the prepared batter till well blended, then drop by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the puffs 30 minutes, turn off the heat, and let stand till they are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Serve the puffs warm.