French Fridays with Dorie: Goat Cheese Mini Puffs

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I know it's not Friday, still, I am determined to brake the rules this once and post my French Fridays with Dorie recipe on a Saturday. Please, cut me some slack. It's been my first week as an official student of wine and oenology and Thursday was also the third Thursday of November when the wine world goes bonkers for Beaujolais Nouveau. So in between of sipping, spiting, meeting - my fellow classmates whose mean-age is way smaller than mine - I did manage to bake my first ever pâte à choux puffs! I just did not have time to write about them...

To tell you the truth I was dreading this recipe... Making choux pastry is not the easiest thing in the world and I have never made it before. After a disastrous and very disappointing attempt to bake a Chocolate Danish for the Home Bakers last week I had serious doubts that I will ever be able to make anything than salad in my "new" kitchen. {To clarify, for the duration of my sommelier training I am staying at Georgie's parents house in  Athens.} My small Zagreb kitchen is so far away and I miss it tremendously, yet I have to get used to this quite big and - thank God - well equipped kitchen if I am to continue doing what I love - cooking, baking and writing about it. After a long, exhausting debate with myself, the adventurous part in me prevailed and I decided to go ahead and make Dorie's Goat Cheese Mini Puffs. 

I started with the "easy" stuff. Milk, water, salt, butter boiling in a pan, tossed in the flour and started whisking. Dorie says it has to become a silky looking dough!!! Mine was more of the soie sauvage variety but well my arm was getting tired so I turned on the 24 year old Kenwood Kitchen   Machine to do the rest of the work with the eggs. In the end I have to admit, the dough did look like silk but it was somewhat runny, hence the very artistic, non-spherical shape of my puffs! 

Next, I had to make peace with the "new" oven (I was told that it can be quite temperamental when it comes to baking delicate pastry doughs) so I camped out in-front of its door while the puffs where puffing inside and cajoled it with various nonsensical words {M-i-L surely thinks I'm crazy by now}. Whatever I said it seems to have worked! The puffs, puffed up, even though I had some serious doubts at the beginning, they rose and rose and rose and then when the time came to rotate them they deflated like old balloons!!! Panic, desperation, denial all together hit me like a hot, painful punch in the stomach. Now what? How do I put the lost air into the puff-less puffs? I put them back into the oven, mumbled a couple of prayers and as  by miracle they started to inflate again and this time I could see it was for good. They just wanted to breath a bit and then keep all the steamy, hot air inside them! I took them out of the roaring oven and let them cool down a bit admiring the miracle created by eggs and hot air!
I filled them with fresh goat cheese, cucumber and fresh herbs cream cheese (I am in Greece after all - it would be a sin not to try out the local variations of the well know cream cheese brand!!) and took them out on the balcony to photograph them. Half of them were swept away by the gale force winds whipping this part of Athens for the last couple of days. I did not fret. Actually I was satisfied...choux puffs are supposed to be light as air and mine actually got the chance to fly {away to the neighbour's  yard}. Light as air and yummy... so mission accomplished!

I cannot put the recipe for these puffs on this post, but you can find Dorie's recipe, as it was printed in "Better Homes and Gardens", here. To see how other bloggers liked Goat Cheese Mini Puffs check out the French Fridays with Dorie website where every Friday we make recipes from Dorie Greenspan's book "Around My French Table"


  1. Boy do you get "extra credit" for being able to pull these off (not to mention how spectacular they look !!!!) with all on your plate.I would seriously have bailed with half the stuff going on - in fact I would have been happy just drinking the wine :) Your mini goat puffs look amazing. Lovely job and good luck with the classes and the inlaws.....

  2. Your puffs look delicious! I would love to try your Greek goat cheese, I'll bet it's amazing;-)
    Congratulations on making your puffs under less than perfect conditions! - each time you make a batch of cream puffs it just gets easier;-)

  3. I had to laugh at the thought of your puffs floating away in the wind! They look beautiful - especially if this is your first time making pate a choux.

  4. I think your puffs look fine and delicious as well. Hey, about that cucumber, what a good idea. Your mini-puffs look just like mine and I was pretty satisfied with them. I think you are a tough critic. And I would have been totally pissed to see those puffs fly away. Bummer. I think it's very difficult to work in someone else's kitchen. Good for you that you could turn out such a tasty-looking product.

  5. These look perfectly delicious.
    Best wishes as you work your way through your new adventure. It sounds exciting and challenging all at the same time!

  6. I visited from Sissi's 'With a Glass' blog and smiled to see your goat cheese puffs. They are beautiful. I am not fond of the piped smooth look of cream puffs in general so I don't feel you need to change/improve anything. I'm also of the low and slow (350 deg F) choux pastry baking school by the way. It takes longer to get them to puff up but then when they do, they stay up. :)

    Although I'm not as familiar with savoury fillings in my puffs, smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese is another good one. Whipping cream and pastry cream are my family's favourites. If I want a savoury cream puffs, I add a sharp cheese (Gruyere or Comte, even a sharp cheddar) to the choux pastry after the eggs have been added in, call the results 'gougeres' and munch them up as an appetizer with some sparkling white wine or champagne if I'm feeling decadent.

  7. Your puffs looks wonderful…love the addition of cucumber….sound so delicious!!


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