What appetizers should I serve at Thanksgiving? This is a tricky subject, as you want items that are not terribly filling, but are jaw-droppingly drool-inducing. The answer? Cheese puffs. I make these bad boys twice a year (for the holidays and Easter). The dough is simple to prepare, but the piping takes a while since the recipe yields about 150 puffs. This is a good thing because you can freeze half of them and reheat them for holiday parties in December. Make them ahead of time and save your oven, and your energy, for other dishes on Thanksgiving Day.
MISE EN PLACE8 eggs at room temperature (+ 1 extra for an egg wash)
2/3 cup whole milk (+ 2 tablespoons for later...)
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup (1/2 #) unsalted butter
Salt (about 2-3 teaspoons, depending on how salty your cheese is)
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups flour
2 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese (about 1/2#) (the one from Trader Joe's is good & cheap)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
THE PATE CHOIX
In a 4 Qt. heavy pot (Le Creuset) heat the milk, water, and butter until boiling, and the butter is melted. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat, and stir in the flour. The dough will form into a nice, clean ball. Move back onto medium heat and stir for about a minute to cook out the raw flour taste.
To make sure your cheese puffs are delicious, sample at least 3 from each batch. This could go on & on, but I have faith in your dedication.
MORE ABOUT PATE CHOIX
This versatile dough is the foundation for many baked goods. A sweet version is used for eclairs, profiteroles, and can also be fried to produce a varied result. The process is simple, but its success can be easily altered by glossing over tried & true techniques. If you have any questions about this, or any other recipe, please drop me a line, and I'll do my best to help you out.