Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ham and Cheese Puffs

This basic recipe for pâte à choux - puff pastry - rises to new levels with the introduction of chopped ham and grated cheese. What I love about this dish is the two-step baking process that makes it a snap to prepare when you want it and want it now.

Prepare this recipe up to a month in advance of need, partially bake it, and store it in the freezer in an airtight container. When your hour of need is at hand, place the frozen puffs on a baking sheet and give them a second shot in the oven to finish them off. This is easy-breezy-peasy! Make these once and theyll soon become your go-to appy.

Ham and Cheese Puffs:

1 c. (250 mL) water
1/3 c. (80 mL) butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
1 c. (250 mL) flour
4 large eggs 
1-1/2 c. grated cheese (see Note)
1 c. (250 mL) finely chopped ham
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) dry mustard

Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. In medium saucepan over high heat, combine water, butter or margarine, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour all at once, stirring fast and hard until pastry dough leaves side of pan to form a ball. Remove from heat. Cool 1 min. 

Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Dough will be smooth and shiny. Stir in cheese, ham, and mustard.

Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto parchment-lined sheet. Remember: This is a two-step baking process! Bake 15-to-20 min. Cool; wrap; label; freeze. 

To serve, preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Place frozen puffs on parchment-lined sheet. Bake 10 min. Yields 4 or 5 doz.

Note: Choose a cheese with good melting properties and a strong taste. The original recipe suggest edam or gouda, but Ive had good results using a commercially grated mozzarella-cheddar blend. Yes, Dollinks, commercially grated ... I’ve succumbed to the convenience of bagged cheese. If someone else will do the grating and not charge too much for it, bring it on!
Remove from freezer ...

Bake 15 min. from frozen state (I use the toaster oven)

And here they are! Ready to serve, right from the freezer!

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