Saturday night, we went to my husband’s company “Holiday” party. It was at Craft in Los Angeles, which is one of the best restaurants. They took over the whole place. When we walked in we were greeted with a glass of wine (there was also an open bar) and then promptly offered hors d’oeuvres after hors d’oeuvres, about one every 15 – 20 seconds. This to me, is my idea of nirvana. I could live on hors d’oeuvres. From the speck, pepper and fontina pizzas to the celery, crème fraîche shooters, it was exquisite. One of the best things was the Gourgères (cheese puffs).
The meal was served “family style”. First course:
Spinach, Walnut Pancetta
Heirloom Squash Agnolotti
Hawaiin Blue Prawns
Local Farm Chicken
Beef Short Ribs
Assortment of Mushrooms
Gnocchi & Parmesan
Sticky Toffee Pudding & Braised Apples
Chocolate Truffle Tart
Ice Cream & Sorbet
Unfortunately, we left before dessert. This was NOT my idea………
Red Pepper, Garlic & Pecorino Gourgères
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1” pieces
½ cups water
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
6 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven 425°. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
In a food processor, puree the red bell pepper with the water and garlic until the mixture is as smooth as possible, about 2 minutes. Strain the pepper puree through a fine sieve set over a measuring cup, pressing hard on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much of the pepper juice as possible; you should have 1 cup. Stir in a little more water if necessary.
Transfer the red pepper juice to a medium saucepan. Add the butter, salt and pepper and cook over a low heat until the butter melts. Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth and shiny and pulls away from the side of the pan, about 2 minutes. Scrape the dough into a bowl. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the cheese and cayenne.
Drop rounded teaspoons of the dough about 1” apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the gougères on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and browned; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom half way through baking. Serve the gougers hot, warm or at room temp.
NB – The gougères can be made up to a1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container. Rewarm in a 350° oven before serving.