Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gruyere & Smoked Salmon Gougeres - Christmas Baking Project #4

        Dilema! Dilema! It's the week of our office Christmas lunch and I'm supposed to be bringing in a dish, I still had no idea what to make! After all the sweet baking starting off with the Gingerbread House, Orange Cardamom and Pistachio Cupcakes and my Slice and Bake Cookies, I thought I should try and make something savoury. I'm now known as the cooking/baking fanatic who is always in the kitchen on the weekend whipping up scrumptious food. I'm even more loved (and hated) when I bring in the goods produced (hated because, well, sweets are ever good for your health are they?). I've always brought in sweet items so thought I would be different and bring in something savoury.
        The dilema of course is what do I make to bring in? As with the blogger's picnic, it had to be something that was easily shared, something that could be served cold, or microwaveable without spoiling it's texture/consistency. After going backwards and forwards between so many ideas in my head I settled on making some gougeres as I have always wanted to make a savoury version of the choux pastry seeing as I've made plenty of profiteroles in my lifetime.

        So after flipping through various recipes for gougeres, I settled on adapting a recipe from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook for savoury choux pastry and made my own filling.

Gruyere Cheese Gougeres with Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese
Choux Pastry
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 125gr unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200gr gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

1. For the pastry, place the butter and milk into a saucepan and place over medium heat until butter melts, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it is boiling add the flour and quickly beat the mixture until it comes together away from the sides of the saucepan. Take off the heat and cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius. Beat the eggs into the flour mixture one at a time, making sure it is well incorporated before adding the next egg. The mixture may seperate at first but it should all come together into a thick smooth paste.
3. Stir in the gruyere cheese and mix until combined. Pipe or spoon the pastry mixture onto a lined baking tray. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Leave aside to cool.

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese
250gr tub spreadable cream cheese
150gr smoked salmon slices
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 bunch chives, finely chopped

1. Place the cream cheese and salmon and lemon juice into a food processer and process until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chives. Make an incision in chuox and then pipe the filling.

        Not sure if I've shared this tip before, to make it easier to fill the piping bag, fold the nozzle over and then place the bag into a tall glass or jug. Spread out the bag and tuck the overhanging sleeve over the edge of the glass. Just remember not to overfill and don't walk away from it, you'll have a nice messy pool leaking everywhere on your return.

        To prevent them from having little burnt peaks, dip your finger into a bit of water and smooth down the tips. Brushing them with eggwash gives them the nice golden finish.

        I love the food processor, makes it all so much easier. Look at the gorgeous colour of the cream cheese once the salmon is mixed through.

        Salmon and cream cheese filled gruyer puffs ready to go, of course I have to taste test one (or two) to make sure they were up to standard before I let everyone else at work try them.

        So this was our office Christmas lunch spread. Doesn't look like much here but there was actually quite a bit of food and plenty of leftovers at the end. We had pasta salad, garden salad, bread rolls, ham, turkey, potato salad, meatballs, chicken drumettes, gougeres, chocolate cake, fruit cake, shortbread, pineapple and vanilla yogurt (which I threw together last minute but remained untouched).

'Merry Xmas' in m&m's - too cute.

        The HR department had a competition going for who could decorate their workstations the best. Our manufacturing HR team came together and had a combined effort to decorating our office area. For the month of December what we usually call 'Nova North Offices' became Santa's Cave or the North Pole.
ER - Elf Resources = Human Resources, clever hey? 

We actually do have a performance rating system at work.

The Health and Safety department.

        The North Pole, normally Health & Safety but I think safety went out the window in December.
Even the Christmas tree was sporting our company logo.

The North Pole.

Hang gliding Santa, I hope he's had safety checks done.

Elf School - formerly the Manufacturing Learning department.

They provide the training for all manufacturing staff (elves).

Lesson plan.

Elf workshop.

Reindeer feeding station.

The naughty or nice list.

        That's me! Department Coordinator, well for December I turned into Elf Co-ordinator. I'm an honorary member of the ER (HR) team as most of the office space is occupied by them and they try to include me in things because I do help support them, my Engineering/Operations team is spread out all over the place. And for this project I was recruited to help decorate the office (which I usually do anyway).

        And my gingerbread house! The judging was done in the last week while I was already on annual leave. I came back to news that they won, and I would have been disappointed otherwise! It was a sad moment when we had to pull everything down and pack all the deco's away. It just looks so bare now.


Sneh | Cook Republic said...

Those gougeres are to die for! They look perfect. I <3 North Pole, so cute :-)

chocolatesuze said...

your gougeres look fantastic! im so jealous!

Anonymous said...

Savoury gougeres! They rock! And yours look fantastic! BTW, I'm in love with my food processor, too.

OohLookBel said...

You have such a fun office! And the gougeres look fantastic, love the savouriness of them.

sugarpuffi said...

the gougeres looks so delicious! and ur office is too awesome.

Jacq said...

loving the look of your gougeres - so plump and delicious! and your gingerbread house looks awesome too!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Super awesome! And of course you will win right?

Maria said...

That's nice! Your office really went through effort (unlike mine which is why I don't mind missing out every year). Well done!

MelbaToast said...

Ooo - they sound very delicious. Love that your whole office gets into the decorating...what fun.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a delicious sounding filling Angie! and lol I've always wanted the role of elf coordinator! :P

SK said...

Looks great!
(Especially the Christmas decorations)

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I really should try my hand at making choux pastry from scratch, instead of using packet mix as I have for 15 years...or more =p Yours are so shiny and golden!