Recipe: Anna Olson’s Bacon Cheese Puffs
At this year’s Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Anna Olson shared her new recipe for bacon cheese puffs. These elevated gougères are quick to become a holiday staple as they can be made ahead and frozen, and used in a number of ways: as a bun for a slider, a base for a piped cheese or smoke salmon hors d’oeuvre, in place of croutons on a salad, as a garnish on a bowl of soup, or simply a nibble on their own.
These cheese puffs are made using a classic French pastry called choux paste (the same is used to make éclairs and profiteroles.) Put out a plate at your next holiday party and these bacon & cheese puffs will gone before you know it.
Anna Olson’s Bacon Cheese Puffs
Makes about 4 dozen 2-bite puffs
What you’ll need…
6 slices cooked smoked bacon, well-drained
1 ¼ cups (310 mL) 1% milk
¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 cups (140 g) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
½ cup (60 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp (2 g) chili powder
1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °F) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
2. Crumble the bacon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is the texture of crumbs. Remove and set aside (no need to wash the food processor bowl.)
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and butter up to a simmer over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and use a wooden spoon to vigorously stir the paste mixture for about 2 minutes, until it pulls away from the pan. Scrape this into the food processor bowl and let cool 5 minutes.
4. Break the eggs into a cup and while pulsing the food processor, add the eggs one at a time, quickly pulsing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the bowl down in between egg additions.
5. Add the Gruyere, Parmesan, chili powder and cooked bacon and pulse well until the cheese is blended into a paste. Spoon this mixture (it
will still be warm) into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe the batter into 1 ½-inch (36 mm) rounds on the prepared baking trays, leaving 1 ½-inches (36 mm) between them. If the rounds have little points from where you lifted up the piping bag, use your finger dipped in cool water to pat it down.
6. Bake the gougères for 25-30 minutes (do not use a fan, or lower the oven temperature by 25 °F if you cannot turn off the fan), until they are a rich golden brown and are light when lifted off the tray. Allow the gougères to cool for at least 10 minutes on the tray before eating.
The gougères are best enjoyed warm, but can be eaten at room temperature. They can be made in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.