Gougere -- a cheese bread to warm hungry skiers
The food from the province of Burgundy is known for being at once powerful and delicate, created for healthy appetites and strong stomachs. The beef from Charolais, the chickens of Bresse, the snails that feed on grape leaves in Burgundy, and the pungent mustard of Dijon all contribute to the region's robust cuisine.
La gougere is a Burgundian cheese bread, characteristic of the cooking in this region of plentiful and hearty food.
Gougere would be great to make after a day of skiing, because it is a heavy, filling bread that satisfies hunger quickly. The combination of the bread and cheese baking in the oven creates a wonderful aroma.
It is an easy bread to make, that is, if you find easy the technique used in preparing pate a choux, or cream puffs.
The puff paste is a thick white sauce of flour, water, seasonings, and butter , into which eggs are beaten. Eggs make the paste swell as it bakes.
To make a good gougere you need stamina, because vigorous beating is necessary to mix the eggs into the paste.
The cheeses in gougere can be varied according to taste, and depending on what you may have on hand at the time. Swiss-type cheeses, with their distinctive holes or eyes and sweetish, nutty taste, are recommended.
Emmentaler, the original Swiss cheese, with large eyes and a smooth, amber natural rind, has a mellow, nutty taste. It is milder and less salty than Gruyere.
Gruyere has a rough, brown, natural rind and small holes. The older the cheese, the fuller and richer tasting it is.
Even more flavorful is Appenzeller, which has a brown and crinkly rind, small eyes, and a strong aroma. Appenzeller tastes sharp and slightly bitter, but it is creamier and more moist than Emmentaler and Gruyere.