John Bennett’s Gougeres as Big as The Ritz

Here’s what John told me he did:

 

 
I split the gougeres, flashed them in a hot oven, then laid a bouquet of watercress on one side, spritzed it with vinaigette then put the other piece on top and sprinkled everything with chopped pistachios. It looked pretty and I liked the combination of hot-crisp and cold-crisp.  I don’t believe I would change a thing, which is unusual for me. 
 
I doubled the recipe and because the gougeres were so big it took almost 45 minutes to bake each batch of 12 to crispy.  And I pierced them with a knife to release steam about 10 minutes before I took them out. Then, as soon as I could, I loosened them from the ramekins and left them askew to cool, so they didn’t deflate much. 
 
Oh, and did I tell you I used smoked Gouda as well as other cheeses and sweet smoked paprika? I liked that slight smoky taste. 
 
And here’s what they looked like.  Well, this isn’t a picture from the dinner for 60 — he didn’t have a minute to think about pix.  It’s a picture of John’s after-party dinner.  Lucky guy.
 
John Bennett Gougeres with Watercress.jpg
 
The gougeres recipe is the first in my book, Around My French Table.  You can also find it here, in a story about when I made these for NPR’s All Things Considered. And in case you’re wondering about the plate, it was an early (perhaps the first?) James Beard Foundation Awards Gala commemorative plate.
 

 

Dorie Greenspan

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