Saturday, June 30, 2007

a birthday degustation: "bread and jam"

Continuing our recap of the culinary journey that was our recent chef's degustation, we arrive at a challenge. It seems only proper to serve some form of bread with a formal dinner, and we truly enjoy firing up our hearthstone and doing so. However, with degustation, a chef does not wish to provide too much of a filling starch, resulting in guests becoming satiated prior to the conclusion of the meal. After some debate, our solution was the gruyere cheese gougeres pictured at right.

A gougere is a classic French pâte à choux-based "cheese puff." Pâte à choux (or choux pastry) is a light, cooked. egg-based pastry with a high steam content. The steam causes the dough to "puff" in the oven, leaving them primarily hollow. A sweet base of this type of pastry is used as the base for classic French cream puffs and eclairs, among other treats. For our degustaion, we created a savory dough, redolent with sharp and nutty gruyere cheese. Served warm and crisp, the hollow and airy pastries served as the requisite "bread" of the degustation, but didn't fill up our guests prematurely! To complement the savory nature of the cheese present in the gougeres, we served our homemade lavender and vanilla infused peach preserves (see our previous Memorial Day post which described the creation process), as well as fresh creamery butter.

The warm-from-the-oven gougeres kept our guests occupied until the next course (and the next bottle of wine) arrived-- a flight of three chilled soups paired with a lucious Sancerre. But you'll have to wait until our next post to hear all about that!

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