Today, January 26, many Australians will be celebrating Australia Day. On the good side – it’s summer, it’s a great time to get outside and have a bbq and, if you are not in the midst of a dry January, have a few drinks with some friends. On the downside, the day itself is becoming increasingly fraught for all manner of reasons – some of which you can read about here for a considered view and here for the opinions of a lunatic. Hey America…you’re not alone with your President, we have a Prime Minister (well ex-Prime Minister) who says dumb offensive shit too. And whilst he might not be orange or have a mad comb-over, there was .this….ewwwww.
But we are not here to get political. We are here to eat, drink and be merry. Because it’s a long weekend. And we’re going to celebrate with some Australian food. If by Australian food we mean something that we have totally (mis)appropriated from another culture. So let’s get to it shall we?
Gougères are the French version of what we in Australia would call a cheese puff. And they are delicious! Feather-light pastry flavoured with cheese makes for a perfect snack. Particularly if you happen to be imbibing something of an alcoholic persuasion. Making it a perfect start to this weekend’s round of bbq’s.
But we’re not celebrating Bastille Day…we’re celebrating Australia Day…so how to “Strayanise” these delicious French delicacies? Well, first we’re going to throw a little Vegemite into the mix. Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that I…ahem…”borrowed” the idea of the Vegemite Gougères from Rosie Birkett’s recipe for Marmite Gougères.
And then, to make it even more Australian, I substituted the water in the recipe for beer. I used the Gage Roads Little Dove Pale Ale as the beer for this because it is my absolute favourite and I had some in the house but you could sub in your own favourite.
The gougères are delightfully light. The combination of vegemite, cheese, cayenne and the very slight hint of beer go so well together that it would be a real shame to only save these for one day of the year!
- 120g unsalted butter
- 150ml whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Vegemite
- 75ml Pale Ale
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 4 eggs
- 100g cheddar, grated, plus 1 tablespoon extra, for scattering
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- big pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Put the butter, milk and Vegemite and ale into pan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Add the flour and beat very quickly with a wooden spoon, over the heat, until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan (about 2-3 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is thick and smooth and glossy.
- Stir in the grated cheese, peppers and nutmeg.
- Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with a nozzle. Pipe little rounds (about the size of a chestnut) onto the trays, leaving space between each mound to allow for rising.
- Alternatively, just spoon small spoons of the mixture onto the tray.
- Scatter over the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 20–25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
- Serve warm. Or cool on a wire rack and reheat in a 180°C oven for a few minutes until they crisp up.
- The gougères can be made in advance and frozen once cool.
If not, make these anyway, they’re awesome!
Back with more Z Food next time! Have a fabulous week!