Entertainment on the ship: Cooking

10.02.10 | Comment?

We have been blessed with an amazing chief cook (or “cooky”) on this voyage named Danilo. He makes everything from scratch, has a wide repertoire and makes us all unable to shed the least pound (to the captain’s despair) because his food is so yummy.

“Top Chef” Danilo with his intrepid afternoon cooking team.

Danilo has become a great friend and he let us use his kitchen to make some Gougères (cheese puffs). The entire crew knew we would be making “something” for them at 1pm and they were pretty excited.

The pressure was on. We then worked hard at stirring the dough…

… and carefully spooning the paste onto the baking pan under the attentive eye of the chief cook, when…

… I got held up by a ninja who wanted all my gougères! Ahhh!

Too bad, Jeoffrey, I recognized your eyeballs even under your very impressive mask. No gougères for you! Bah, not true… he was the first one to try them.

And here they are fresh out of the oven. They turned out really good, except we forgot we were dealing with real seamen and made them too small. They were half-bite-size for them! Oops.

It’s ok, we gave Danilo the recipe so he can make a bigger, more manly batch later.

Here’s the recipe for you too if you want to try making these yummy treats (based on Michael Ruhlman’s recipe):

Pâte à Choux

Yield: 80 small choux or 40 – 50 bigger choux

The following is a standard recipe for basic pâte a choux. To make cheese puffs, or any savory preparation, add two tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano to the dough along with the eggs (top with more cheese to bake them). For a sweet puff, add two tablespoons of sugar to the water and butter as you heat it.

This recipe can be made all in the same pot using a stiff wood spoon, but it’s easier, and the dough puffs more, if you use a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer to beat in the eggs.

Ingredients:

* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup eggs (4 large eggs)

1. Bring the water and butter to a simmer over high heat.

2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour and stir rapidly. The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.

3.Transfer the paste a bowl (with high edges if you are using a hand mixer)

4. Add the eggs one at a time mixing rapidly until each is combined into the paste.
The paste will go from shiny to furry, slippery to sticky as the egg is incorporated.

5. Pipe or spoon the pâte à choux onto a baking sheet

6. Bake in a hot oven (220°C/425°F for 10 minutes, 180°C/350°F for another 30 minutes or so)

Voilà!

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