The snow and ice storm that swept through Eugene last weekend may have forced us to hold dinner by candlelight, but in general it put a chill on Valentine's Day planning. Still, a little celebration is in order, and as a twist on the endless chocolate sweets, I can recommend these savory rye flour and cocoa gougeres from Chad Robertson's Tartine Book No. 3. I made these with Lonesome Whistle Farm rye, skipped the fancy piping (beyond my skill set) or egg wash (too lazy), and we had these alongside a comforting pot of leek and potato soup. The rye and unsweetened cocoa give these a deep, slightly bitter flavor that is a nice complement to the richness of the dough. A delicious treat to make for your sweetie this Valentine's Day.
from Chad Robertson's Tartine Book No. 3
yield: four dozen gougeresRye-Cocoa Pate a Choux Dough
310 ml/ 1 1/4 cup nonfat milk
140 g/ 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp fine sea salt
166 g / 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp whole-grain dark rye flour
15 g/ 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
250 g/ 5 large eggs, at room temperature
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to just under a boil. Add the flour and cocoa all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and some of the moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a heatproof mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix at medium high speed or vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon, incorporating each egg before adding the next. When all the eggs have been added, the mixture will be very thick, smooth, and shiny. Use immediately.
115 g/ 3/4 cup grated Comte or Gruyere cheese
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh marjoram
1 1/2 tsp minced thyme leaves
1 recipe Rye-Cocoa Pate a Choux Dough
50 g/ 1 large egg
pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add 75 g/ 1/2 cup of the cheese, the pepper, the marjoram, and the thyme to the pate a choux dough and stir well with a rubber spatula to incorporate.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe 1 inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart, or use a spoon to drop the dough into 1 inch mounds.
To make the egg wash: in a small bowl, whisk together the egg and salt. Lightly brush the top of each dough mound with the egg wash , then top with the remaining 40 g/ 1/4 cup cheese, dividing evenly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed, golden brown, and light for their size, rotating the baking sheet after 20 minutes to ensure even browning. Serve warm. You can also cool completely and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days. To serve, recrisp for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
Note: you can form the gougers on a baking sheet, place in the freezer unto, frozen, and then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake them straight from the freezer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with egg wash, sprinkle with cheese before baking, and increase the baking time by about 10 minutes.