The thing with Australian autumns is that instead of being cool and crisp, it rains. Mercilessly so. And there is something about this relentless rainy arvo that has prompted me to use the wedge of beautiful Hunter Valley blue cheese to make these beautiful blue cheese & cracked pepper gougères - which I proceeded to eat warm for a late lunch with a rocket salad.
The recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook and is something I've flagged since I first read the collection. No deviations were taken.
Black Pepper & Blue Cheese Gougeres
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 large eggs
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan bring the butter, water and wine to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add flour, pepper and salt, and stir until blended and smooth. Reheat pan over medium heat and stir the mixture vigorously until it forms a ball.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and cool slightly. Add the blue cheese and beat on low until combined. Add the first egg and beat until fully incorporated. Scrap down the sides of the bowl then repeat the process with the rest of the eggs. Then scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Sprinkle each with sea salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm or at room temperate.