You work hard to click beautiful pictures, you review them and are surprisingly pleased with what you see, and then a few days later you sit down to finally edit it and can’t find a single picture on your laptop or your camera. Yes, I deleted an entire set of pictures, basically losing an entire blog post. I still don’t know how it happened but I don’t have a single picture left of the lovely blood orange cake I had made. Heart break would be putting it mildly, not least because blood oranges aren’t easily available here; in fact this was the first time I had spotted them so you can imagine how excited I was to finally get my hands on the beautiful citrus.
I mean we ate the cake and all so it’s not like any food got wasted and I wouldn’t mind making it again (provided I find the said citrus), it doesn’t take that long to bake a cake frankly but thinking about the entire shoot, setting it all up and taking pictures at various stages of the cake making process, that took a lot of time and effort, more than an entire day to be precise! And for once I was actually happy with the pictures I had clicked, the fruit was gorgeous and photogenic and I had felt inspired. And now just like that, it’s all gone, every single picture deleted into oblivion. I know it sounds dramatic but truly, I’m heartbroken.
So that happened but luckily, I’ve never been one to sit around and mope and I did learn my lesson, check- once, twice, thrice before getting trigger happy and deleting pictures; and who knows maybe I’ll have an even better cake and pictures next time around and hey this is as legit a reason as I’ll ever have to bake a cake so I guess it’s not all bad or so I’m going to keep telling myself.
Since the cake got lost, this is what I made next, gougere with mushrooms and quail eggs; don’t you love how just by saying something in French, it becomes all fancy, try it… goo-jair. So gougere is basically like a cheese puff and is made of the same choux pastry recipe we used for the éclairs only difference being the addition of cheese in these savoury ones. These can be had on their own and make quite a delicious snack but the addition of mushrooms and quail eggs takes it a notch further and also makes it quite filling. I have shared with you how I cooked the mushrooms but you can make it as you like, you can also make the filling with other vegetables and meats of your choice; I used a mix of mushrooms here, button, oyster, shitake and portobello but you can use just one kind or whatever mix of mushrooms you like. I also chose quail eggs for their tiny size and delicate flavour which seemed to perfectly compliment this gougere. You can make these larger if you like but the smaller gougeres look dainty and can be the perfect hors d’oeuvre for a party, it’s sure to wow your guests in both looks and taste. This recipe is inspired from Catherine Atkinson’s book The Art of Pastry.
For the choux pastry
- All purpose flour/maida- 100 grams
- Eggs- 2
- Butter- 70 grams
- Water- 150 ml
- Cheddar cheese (grated)- 50 grams
For the filling
- Mushrooms (mixed)- 400-500 grams
- Butter/oil- 2-3 tbsp
- Onion- 1 (small)
- Garlic- 5-6 cloves
- Salt- ½ tsp
- Soy sauce- 1 ½ tsp
- Balsamic vinegar- 1 tsp
- Spring onions/scallions- 5-6
- Chilli flakes- 2-3 tsp
- Fresh coriander- a handful
- Quail eggs- as required (optional)
- Preheat oven to 220C. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter or baking spray and keep aside.
- In a saucepan, add water and butter and heat gently till the butter melts. Bring to a rolling boil and take the saucepan off the heat. Immediately add the flour, all at once, beating well (I used a wooden spoon for this) until the mixture forms a ball. Keep aside to cool slightly.
- Once the flour mixture has cooled, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. It will take a little time for the egg to mix in with the flour mixture, just keep at it, till you have a smooth mixture. Add the cheese and stir to mix.
- Lightly sprinkle the baking tray with a little water. Place (lime size) spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking tray.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the gougeres are nicely brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven when done and slit each one to let the steam escape. Let the gougeres cool before filling.
- Clean and cut the mushrooms. Chop the onions and garlic, slice the green onions, and keep aside.
- Heat the butter in a pan, add the onions and sauté till it starts to change colour, then add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so, then add the mushrooms. The mushrooms will release water, cook till the liquids have almost dried up.
- Add salt, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes and green onions. Further cook till the liquids have dried up completely. Add chopped fresh coriander.
- To boil quail eggs (if using), put eggs in boiling water for one minute. Remove, cool slightly and peel.
To assemble- Cut the gougeres in half, spoon mushrooms on one half, top with quail eggs, whole or cut in half (if using). You can either cover the gougere with the other half or serve open faced. Sprinkle some salt and chili flakes on the eggs if you like.
*Traditional gougeres are made with gruyere cheese but I’ve made it with cheddar, you can use either.
*Use one or multiple varieties of mushrooms, whatever you like. I used a mix of button, shitake, oyster and portobello mushrooms.
*You can make the gougeres and cook the mushrooms ahead of time and assemble it just before serving.
*Adjust salt and chili flakes as per your taste