How was your Thanksgiving? Were you daring cook, adding a new recipe or two into your day? Or did you stick to the tried, true, and delicious recipes that you almost have memorized? Either way, I hope it was a delicious, restful, and filling day for you and your families.
Mike and I flew south to visit some of his family for the long weekend. I missed my own family so much – craving to be around the table sharing our traditional dishes and pies. I cooked and baked a little, enjoying the space and amenities of a kitchen the size of our Manhattan apartment, but also, strangely, missing our cozy kitchen.
I imagine there might be more than a handful of people who still have the very last of the turkey leftovers to consume. Sometimes those last few meals of leftovers can be a bit difficult to get excited about, after consuming turkey for days on end. Not to worry! I have the perfect vessel for you to create a flavorful Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. And, just in case the thought of returning to the kitchen after last week isn’t exactly the most appealing thought, this recipe is a cinch to make.
Yields 8 to 10 4-inch pastries
Slightly adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
1 1/4 cups skim milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 large egg
Grated Gruyère cheese for sprinkling
Coarse sea salt (I use Maldon) for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a SilPat or parchment paper.
To make the choux paste, combine the milk, butter, and salt in a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan and some of the moisture has evaporated. This will take about 3 minutes.
Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or to a heatproof mixing bowl. If using a mixer, add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next. When all the eggs have been added, the mixture will be very thick, smooth, and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand, add the cheese, pepper, and thyme, and mix in with a rubber spatula. If making by hand, add the eggs one at a time to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, then proceed as directed for the mixer method.
Use a large ice cream scoop to drop the dough into mounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
To make the topping, in a small bowl, whisk the egg and then gently brush the top of each pastry with the egg wash. Lightly sprinkle the top of each pastry with a little cheese and a bit of sea salt.
Place the pastries in the oven immediately and bake until they have puffed, are nicely browned, and feel light for their size, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and poke a small hole in the side of each pastry with a toothpick to allow the steam to escape. Releasing the steam keeps them from collapsing. If splitting and filling, let cool to room temperature; otherwise, they may be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Or, let cool completely, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days, and recrisp in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes.