This recipe calls for some energetic hand-beating. If your spoonarm isn’t up for a workout, you can transfer the hot batter to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Or call on a friend to spell you “for a minute” while you add the eggs and supply expert judgement.
- 4 ounces butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 5 ounces Gruyère AOP, grated (that should make a good 1½ cups), divided
- fresh nutmeg
- paprika and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Put the butter and 1 cup of water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove it from the heat for a second while you add the flour all at once and mix quickly with a wooden spoon to completely amalgamate it.
Put the pan back on low heat, stirring continuously and vigorously until the mixture pulls away cleanly from the pan and the spoon. Remove from the heat. This is the point, if you are feeling that you may swoon, that it’s legit to call for backup or to turn the mixture into the bowl of your electric mixer (see headnote). Add the eggs one by one, seeing that each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. (It looks weird at the beginning, but improves with each addition.) Then beat a minute more until perfectly glossy and wonderful.
Add 1 cup or so of the cheese, and nutmeg, paprika and black pepper to taste, but with restraint. Mix well.
Using two spoons, drop small rounded blobs of the dough on the parchment-lined sheets, spacing them an inch apart. (You may use a pastry bag to extrude them, but round the tops with a wet finger or spoon.) Distribute the remaining cheese atop the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and puffed and light. Do not open the oven door in the first 15 minutes of baking, but if your oven bakes unevenly, you may need to rotate and rearrange the baking sheets toward the end of the baking period.
Serves 6-8 as an aperitif with a glass of vin rouge, or as a starter accompanied by a salad.