Posh Cheese Balls
In France, these are known as ‘gougères’ but cheese balls does it for us. This recipe does make a lot but we can tell you – they disappear fast. The dough can be made several hours in advance or, if you really want to prepare ahead, the piped-out rounds can be open frozen, then cooked from frozen.
- Makes 48
- 85g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 150g plain flour, well sifted
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 4 eggs
- 75g Gruyère cheese, grated
- 25g Parmesancheese, grated
- 1 tbsp grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 tbsp gratedParmesan cheese
- 200g mascarpone
- 50ml double cream
- up to 1 tbsp truffle oilor garlic oil (optional)
- Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Fit a1cm round nozzle on a piping bag.
Put the butter and salt into a pan with 250ml of water. Set the pan over a high heat and bring the water to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Add the sifted flour and mustard powder all at once, then whisk until the batter is smooth. Continue to cook for another minute or so – the mixture will come away from the sides and form a nonsticky ball. You may also see a thin layer coat the base of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool for 3–4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the cooled mixture and beat each one in thoroughly with a wooden spoon or whisk. Finally, stir in the grated cheese.
Put half the batter into the piping bag, and pipe 4cm diameter rounds on to the baking trays, spacing them out evenly – you should be able to fit about 12 on each tray. Wet a finger and smooth off any tips which may have appeared on the rounds. Mix the extra grated cheeses together and sprinkle half of it over the rounds. Put the trays in the oven and bake the cheese balls for 10 minutes until they are lightly coloured. Turn the heat down to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4 and continue to cook until the cheese balls are well puffed up and dry in the centre – they should sound hollow when tapped. This will take another 20–25 minutes. Don’t undercook them as they will collapse as they cool.
Remove the trays from the oven and make a little hole in the side of each ball to help the steam escape. Repeat with the remaining batter and cheese, then bake as before. Serve the cheese balls straight from the oven, or leave to cool and reheat before serving.
If you want to fill the cheese balls, allow them to cool completely. Mix the mascarpone and double cream, then beat in the truffle oil or garlic oil, if using, a little at a time. Taste as you go until you are happy with the strength. Season with salt and pepper. Take a clean piping bag with smaller nozzle and spoon the mascarpone mixture into it, then pipe a small amount into each cheese ball.