Sunday, December 28, 2008

Choux Pastry Heart

One of my favorite bands is one I rarely ever listen to anymore. They exist in a particular time for me, but every once in a while, I remember a lyric or a particular melody that conjures up all kinds of complicated memories. The Cocteau Twins had a song, perhaps it was on Four Calendar Cafe, which came out in 1993, that contains "choux pastry heart" in the lyrics. I remember it, but I can't find it anywhere. Anyway, I have a favorite recipe for Mushroom Gougere that uses a choux pastry dough with gruyere cheese. It's delicious, but now I can only hum Corinne Bailey Rae's Choux Pastry Heart when I make it; the Cocteau Twins lyrics are lost to me.

My friends asked me to make a gougere for brunch over the holidays. I hadn't made it for a while, but it always gets rave reviews, so I was game.

Here's how to make it, somewhat adapted from the Vegetarian Gourmet by Roz Denny (1995):

Mushroom Gougere

Choux Pastry Crust

1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup cold water
3 beaten eggs
3/4 cup diced Gruyere cheese (you can substitute any kind of Swiss)


1 small onion, sliced
1 carrot, coarsely grated
8 oz crimini mushrooms (or any kind of mushroom)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp curry paste (mild or hot, according to your taste)
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a round 9 inch glass pan.

Sift the flour and salt onto a large sheet of waxed paper. In a large saucepan, heat butter and water until the butter just melts. Do not let the water boil. Fold the paper and shoot the flour into the pan all at once. With a wooden spoon, beat the mixture rapidly until the lumps become smooth and the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Cool for 10 minutes. Beat the eggs gradually into the mixture until you have a soft, but still quite stiff, dropping consistency. You may not need all the egg. Stir in the cheese, then spoon the mixture round the sides of the greased pan.

To make the filling, saute the onion, carrot, and mushroom in butter (or olive oil) until the onion is carmelized. Stir in the curry paste, then the flour. Gradually stir in the milk and heat until thickened. Mix the parsley, season well, then pour into the center of the choux pastry. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the dough has risen, but before it turns golden brown, add the flaked almonds. Continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown, and the mixture inside is somewhat stiff. Serve warm.

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