Cheese puffs, also known as gougères, make a fabulous appetizer for special occasions, especially with the addition of crab and sharp cheddar. The puff dough is the same basic pâte à choux (pat ah shoo) recipe used for cream puffs and eclairs, but Chef Greg has simplified and sped up the process by using a processor to mix in the eggs and cheese.

Why use a food processor?

Traditionally, cheese puff dough is made on the stove top by beating eggs in one at a time. There is still some stove work involved here but by using a food processor, you can simplify this recipe and save a lot of in the kitchen. Using the processor, just add the eggs to the dough in a slow stream, then the dough is processed for approximately 30 seconds with the cheese. A great, time-saving hack!

Crab and Cheddar Gougères Recipe

Serves: 12
Difficulty: moderate
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 24-27 min
Special tools: processor, parchment paper

Gougères

1 c water
½ c unsalted butter (1 stick)
¼ t salt
1 c all-purpose flour
5 lg eggs, lightly beaten
1½ c shredded sharp cheddar, such as Tillamook aged cheddar

Preheat oven to 425°. Bring water, butter and salt to a boil in heavy-bottomed pot (do not boil over). When butter is completely melted, add flour all at once and stir constantly with a wooden spoon over medium heat, smearing dough and bringing it together repeatedly until smooth and aromatic, about 1 min. Transfer dough to a processor bowl and pulse 3 sec to cool slightly. With processor running, add eggs in steady stream; stop processor and scrape down sides. Add cheese and process 10 seconds until incorporated. Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment-lined sheet pans, leaving space between each to allow it to double in size (dough can be piped onto sheet pans, if desired). Wet fingertips and smooth each puff to make a rough, round ball. Bake 12 min. Rotate pans top to bottom and spin each pan from front to back. Reduce heat to 375° and bake an additional 12-15 min, until puffed completely and lightly golden on top. Transfer cheese puffs to cooling rack. Puffs can be made in advance, kept covered at room temp and reheated briefly in 350° oven. Or, shape dough balls and freeze until ready to bake, but don’t thaw prior to baking; simply add 2 min of initial baking time.

Crab Filling

½ lb Dungeness crab meat (or shrimp meat)*
2 T mayo
¼ c sour cream
1 T chives, chopped
1 T fresh dill, chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T butter, melted

Combine all well. Chill until ready to use. When puffs are cool, make a small slit in each and fill the pocket with 1-2 teaspoons of filling. Garnish with dill and serve.

*Cooked mushrooms and cream cheese or smoked salmon spread from your Market Meat Department also make excellent filling substitutions. You can also replace the crab with Oregon bay shrimp, if desired.

If you like this recipe, you may also like our online recipes for Crab, Scallop & Shrimp Stuffed Shells, Greg’s Dungeness Crab Bisque or Crab and Gorgonzola Grilled Portabello Mushroom Salad.