I saw the recipe for similar gougères a few days ago on the Cook's Illustrated website. I had some leftover Emmental from the Quiche Lorraine, my bacon, and thyme in my garden; now was the time to finally try pâte a choux. Back in June, Michael Ruhlman had posted about taking some cheese puffs to a friend’s house and eating them with leftover duck confit. I didn’t think ahead to make duck confit, but while I was at one of my favorite grocery stores – Calandro’s – buying the flour, right there in the charcuterie area was canned duck confit. Not quite inventing the universe; but, sometimes, instant gratification is very satisfying. I decided to use the Cook’s Illustrated flavorings with Ruhlman’s Ratio. I watched Jacques Pépin make the choux paste on his The Complete Pépin: Techniques and Recipes DVD for a confidence boost (he uses half the butter compared to Ratio, hmmm).
My bacon, thyme, and the rest of the Emmental.
Minced thyme and garlic cloves.
Diced bacon and minced garlic, draining.
Replaced some of the unsalted butter with bacon grease.
The choux paste. I used buttermilk (had some in the fridge) rather than milk.
I didn’t want to clean my pastry bag after this sticky paste, so I used the baggie trick.
Ready to bake. My piping skills aren’t so good.
Coming out of the oven.
Warming the duck legs.
Lovely duck fat and gelatin (duck goo) in the bottom of the can. After shredding some of the leg meat to serve on the gougères, I made Duck Rillettes (adapted from Kevin Weeks’ – adapted from Charcuterie). I just tried to get the proportions right for the goo and fat to the amount of duck leg meat left and processed it.
Served beans from our garden on the side.
The shredded confit was lovely, but I like the rillettes. For some reason I find it amusing that it looks like devilled ham.