Photography by Randy P. Schmidt.
Ham & Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Gougères
Yields: About 25
 
Gougères can be made way in advance, and the Ham Salad and Pimiento Cheese can be made the day before. These three recipes allow you and your guests to have fun mixing and matching. While the gougères are delicious on their own, you can stuff them yourself, or simply place them on a platter with dishes of Pimiento Cheese and Ham Salad and allow your guests to mix and match as they please! It’s always best to have something for your guests to busy their hands with upon arrival.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups finely shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • Ham Salad (recipe follows)
  • Pimiento Cheese (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk, ½ cup water, butter, salt, and cayenne to a rapid boil over high heat. Add flour; reduce heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring quickly with a wooden spoon. (The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan; 1 to 2 minutes later, the dough will dry out and be very smooth.)
  3. Turn out dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let stand for 1 minute. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until dough is thick and shiny. Add cheese, beating to combine. Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, scoop dough, and place 3 inches apart on prepared pans.*
  4. Place pans in oven, and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375°. Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate pans, and bake until golden and puffed, about 12 minutes more. Let cool slightly.
  5. Place Ham Salad and Pimiento Cheese in pastry bags fitted with ½-inch round tips. Using a paring knife, cut a small “X” in bottom of each warm gougère, and pipe in Ham Salad or Pimiento Cheese.
Notes
*If you want to be a super-host during the holidays, prepared at the drop of the hat to entertain, stop at this step, and place baking sheets in the freezer. Once gougères are frozen solid, pop in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and freeze until your next surprise holiday guest swings by, hopefully giving you at least enough notice to preheat the oven.

Pimiento Cheese
Yields: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ pound cream cheese
  • ½ cup diced cherry peppers
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and cherry peppers at medium speed until softened. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire, white pepper, and Tabasco, and beat until well combined. Add Cheddar, and beat until a spread is formed. Add chives, and beat just until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ham Salad
Yields: 6 Cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups cream cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Crystal Hot Sauce
  • 1½ pounds smoked ham
  • ½ cup diced green onion
Instructions
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce; pulse until combined. Add ham, and pulse until still slightly coarse. (It should not be a homogeneous purée.) Add green onion, and pulse just until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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