These are little savoury choux pastry puffs, and they are made in exactly the same way as regular choux pastry. So, you need to make sure all your ingredients are weighed out and ready to go to avoid any disasters! These ones are unfilled, but you could easily fill them with cream cheese or the like.
Makes about 40
50 g butter
60 ml water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
60 g ground almonds
1/2 tsp xanthan gum*
2 large eggs
25 g parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp poppy seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Mix together the ground almonds, salt and xanthan gum. Place the butter, water and paprika in a saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil, then turn off the heat and quickly add the almond mixture. Beat the mixture vigorously with a spoon or spatula until it comes together and starts to come away from the sides of the pan as you mix it. Add the parmesan cheese, and keep mixing until the mixture is cool enough to touch. Beat the eggs in one at a time until the mixture is thick and glossy. Don’t worry if the mixture looks lumpy at the egg stage, just keep mixing and it will eventually come together.
Place the pastry in a piping bag fitted with a 0.5 cm round nozzle, and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof pastry.
Quick tip: hold the piping bag at a 45° angle to the baking sheet, with the nozzle almost touching the surface and squeeze out a walnut-sized blob of the pastry. Finish squeezing with a quick flick to avoid leaving a tail (although if this does happen, just dip your finger in water and tidy it up a bit).
Sprinkle poppy seeds over the tops of the gougères and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the gougères are golden and crisp on the outside.
These are best eaten straight away (what a shame…), but if you want you can keep them in an airtight container and re-heat them in the oven for a few minutes when you’re ready to use them.
*A note about xanthan gum…I found this in the “free from” aisle of my local supermarket. It is pretty useful! It’s a gluten-free wheat-free thickening agent, and 1 tsp is enough to thicken 350ml milk. You can also use it to improve the crumb structure of gluten-free cakes and breads.