Cheese puff, also known as corn curls, are a puffed snack food coated with flavored cheese powder. They are manufactured by extruding heated dough through a die into various shapes such as balls or cylinders.
These savory cheese puffs (also called gougeres) pair well with wine. The dough is made with a variation of the choux pastry technique used in cream puffs, eclairs and other French pastries.
Using high quality ingredients can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of a Cheese puff. Use unsalted butter, real eggs, and sharp cheddar or another melty cheese to give the finished puffs bold cheesy flavor with a light airy texture. Experiment with different cheese varieties to find the ones you like best or combine a few for an interesting flavor combination.
Water is necessary to form the dough, but you can use milk instead for a subtle creaminess that enhances the flavor. Alternatively, you can use vegetable oil for the same effect.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir vigorously until well combined. It may seem dry at first, but keep stirring until the dough forms a smooth ball and there is no visible flour remaining on the bottom of the pan. This step is important to avoid over-mixing, which can result in dense puffs that lack the proper airy texture.
Making the Dough
Prepping and measuring your ingredients ahead of time is always a good idea, but it’s especially important for this recipe. The dough comes together very quickly, and if your ingredients aren’t ready to go, you may lose liquid to evaporation while measuring.
The cheese puff is a variation on a French pastry called choux, or pate a choux (pronounced “pat ah shoo”). This dough is made by first half cooking the mixture of water and butter, then adding flour to create a paste that’s the consistency of play-dough. Once the paste cools, you add eggs one at a time to create a light and fluffy dough.
Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough into rounded mounds on a prepared baking sheet. Be sure to leave some space between the puffs so that they can expand while baking. Try to keep the mounds consistent in size so that they bake evenly. This will help them look more appealing and make it easier to eat.
Baking the Puffs
These bite-sized appetizers are best enjoyed warm and are perfect for a cold evening, but can also be served at room temperature. The dough is made with a simple combination of ingredients that are easy to prepare, and you can customize the filling by using your favorite cheese.
To make these, you use a pate a choux dough, the same type used for sweet treats like cream puffs and eclairs. You have to cook the water and butter before adding in the flour and stirring, but it’s a quick process that can be done by hand or with a stand mixer.
Once the dough is mixed, it’s put in a pan that goes into the oven to bake. It expands into these little puffs that look almost too pretty to eat! You can make these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer, just transfer them to a Ziploc bag before baking. If you do this, just add a couple minutes to the baking time when they are ready to go in the oven.
Filling the Puffs
For the filling, grate the cheese. You can use a variety of assertive cheeses that pair well with savory foods, such as Gruyere, Gouda, Swiss or even sharp Cheddar. You can also use finely shredded fresh herbs like parsley or chives for an herbal twist.
Spoon or pipe dough into rounds onto the baking sheet, about 18 per pan. Leave enough space between the puffs for them to expand.
Bake the puffs until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking time for even browning.
Cool the puffs on the baking sheets and then serve, if desired, with an egg wash for added shine. The puffs are best served the day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 days. Enjoy! These are a great addition to any charcuterie board. They’re a snack that can take you from a casual game night to a seated dinner party!بف جبن