I can't think of a better time than the holidays to do a food and wine pairing.
I chose a sauvignon blanc for my pairing because it's one of my favorite wines. I wanted to create a recipe that was light in texture but rich in flavor. That's why I chose Herb Gruyère Gougères, which are small savory French pastries filled with cheese. They are like biting into little puffs of cheese-y heaven. :)
I added some holiday herbs (sage, rosemary, savory, and thyme) to the recipe to give it a wintery feel, and used Gruyère and Emmentaler cheese to give it an earthy, salty flavor.
Herb Gruyère GougèresIngredients:
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon herb mix (rosemary, thyme, sage, savory)
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup grated Emmantaler
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 425F
Add 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 cup of cubed butter to a sauce pan. Heat it on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the butter is completely melted, and it just starts to boil. Take the pan off the stove, and stir in the flour. Put the pan back on the stove on medium heat, and stir for about 1 minute. The dough should be starting to leave thin film on the bottom of the pan when it is done.
Move the dough from the pan to a mixing bowl (careful, it is hot). Beat on low with an electric mixer for 1 minute. You'll see it released a lot of steam. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. It is important to add each egg individually and mix until incorporated to ensure a good rise. After all the eggs are in, mix in the cheese. Set aside about 1.4 cup of teh cheese to use as a topping. Last, mix in the diced herbs. We use a mix of thyme, sage, rosemary, and savory.
Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat, or parchment paper. Spoon out walnut size balls of dough, or use a pastry bag to pipe them onto the baking sheet. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of milk and brush onto the gougères. Sprinkle a little of the cheese on top.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425F, then turn down the oven and bake for another 20 minutes at 350F. They should be brown and crisp on the outside.
Makes about two dozen.
The Gougères paired beautifully with the Sauvignon Blanc. They turned out crunchy on the outside, light and airy on the inside.
For entertaining over the holidays, my main piece of advice is to find ways to reduce your stress. I tend to get stressed over the holidays, so I'm always looking for shortcuts. Therefore, I recommend preparing as much as you can beforehand and freezing it. Also, think about hosting your party between mealtimes, so you can just serve hors d'oeuvres and desserts and skip a main course. Finally, I'm a big fan of a signature cocktail, which is always a fun surprise for your guests, and reduces your need for a full bar.
And finally, keep in mind the goal of your party, which is to create a warm and joyous environment to get friends and family together. So please don't sweat the small stuff, and, remember... it's all small stuff. (I'm constantly reminding myself of this.)