I’ve been reading the book, Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, on the recommendation of my Danish Aunt, Anette who read it while she was visiting me in August. The book is about Ruth’s experiences as the New York Times food critic in the 1990s. Beyond merely describing her restaurant experiences, and the elaborate characters she created when visiting the restaurants, she included her own recipes, one of which was for gougères. When I originally saw the recipe, I thought it sounded interesting; essentially, it sounded like the French version of a cheese puff or almost a mini cheese soufflé. Really, how could you go wrong with Gruyère cheese, butter, eggs, and flour? Plus, I’m from Wisconsin, where cheese is practically its own food group.
I was contemplating making the gougères for friends who were coming over Saturday night when I saw Mardi’s post at Eat. Live. Travel. Write. and I knew it was a sign that I had to give them a try. I would have to say they were easy to make and definitely a success, but I will make one change next time. I used a Wisconsin Gruyère instead of a Gruyère from Switzerland. While Wisconsin has some amazing cheeses, this Gruyère was not one of them. Next time, I may use Upland Farm’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese (from Dodgeville, WI) since their cows are pasture raised to produce a cheese that is similar to a Gruyère or Beaufort and allows me to buy locally produced cheese (and Tuesday only, Whole Foods in Madison is selling the Pleasant Ridge Reserve for $12.99 per pound, instead of $22.99, as part of their Grand Re-Opening Celebration). Otherwise, I could always stop at Fromagination, located on Madison’s Capital Square; with their large assortment of cheeses from around the world, including Wisconsin, I have no doubt I will find a delightful Gruyère. If you decide to give the gougères a try, make sure you buy a high quality cheese; if you don’t want to go with a Gruyère, a well-aged Cheddar would give the gougères more of a Wisconsin flavor.