Valentine's Day Gruyère And Crab Gougerès Recipe

waValentine's Day is likely one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year. If you prefer a table that doesn't require reservations, consider creating a romantic gathering for two at home. This recipe for Valentine's Day Gruyère and crab gougerès  –  courtesy of recipe developer Julie Kinnaird  –  sets you up for success with an elegant do-ahead appetizer that is as sophisticated as it is delicious. 

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Gougerès are savory cream puffs made from the classic French pâte à choux dough. This simple dough is first cooked on a stovetop, then piped out and baked in a hot oven. A little shredded cheese on top (Gruyère in this case) melts into the dough during baking to add flavor to the airy pastry. Black pepper and smoked paprika give depth and complexity to the pastry and make these delicious enough to eat on their own with a glass of wine. We fill these delicate puffs with a creamy and slightly spicy crab filling to create a perfectly-flavored bite. 

Gather the Valentine's Day Gruyère and crab gougerès ingredients

To make the gougerès you will need unsalted butter, kosher salt, all-purpose flour, large eggs, grated Gruyère cheese, freshly ground black pepper, and smoked paprika. For the filling, you will need fresh crab meat, sour cream, good-quality prepared mayonnaise, pickled sweet red cherry peppers, fresh fennel bulb, chives, lemon juice, and a dash or more of Tabasco sauce to taste.

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Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 2: Add water, butter, and salt to saucepan

Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Add flour to the saucepan

Add the flour and reduce the heat to medium.

Step 4: Cook and stir until a dough forms

Cook and stir until the mixture forms a smooth dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 2 minutes).

Step 5: Cool the dough in large bowl

Transfer the dough to a heat-proof bowl and cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 6: Add the eggs

Use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to vigorously mix the dough while adding the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated into the dough before adding the next.

Step 7: Add cheese, pepper, and smoked paprika to the dough

Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese, the black pepper, and smoked paprika to the dough and mix thoroughly.

Step 8: Prepare the baking sheets

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 9: Transfer the dough to a pastry bag

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip.

Step 10: Pipe the gougerè dough

Pipe the dough into smooth mounds in 4 rows of 5 on each baking sheet.

Step 11: Place cheese on top of the gougerès

Place a few shreds of the remaining cheese on top of each mound.

Step 12: Bake the gougerès for 15 minutes

Bake the first tray on the center rack for 15 minutes.

Step 13: Reduce the heat to 375 F

Lower the oven temperature to 375 F and bake 10 minutes longer. Do not open the oven during this time.

Step 14: Remove the gougerès from the oven

Remove the gougères from the oven and immediately pierce each one on the side with a toothpick to allow steam to escape.

Step 15: Repeat with the remaining pan

Repeat the process with the remaining pan.

Step 16: Cool the gougerès

Cool the gougères completely.

Step 17: Mix the crab filling

While the gougères are baking, combine the crab meat, sour cream, mayonnaise, cherry peppers, fennel, chives, lemon juice, and Tobasco in a medium bowl.

Step 18: Slice the gougerès

Use a small serrated knife to slice the gougères almost all the way in half horizontally, leaving a part of the edge intact so the top stays on like a lid.

Step 19: Fill the gougerès

Use a small scoop or spoon to add about 2 teaspoons of crab filling into each gougère and place the top back on.

Step 20: Serve the gougerès

Serve the Gruyère and crab gougères immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

How should you serve Valentine's Day Gruyère and crab gougerès?

Because these Gruyère and crab gougerès are so satisfying on their own, they don't require too many accompaniments as appetizers for an intimate gathering. Kinnaird suggests serving these with a dry French rosé or sparkling Brut, along with some mixed marinated olives, cocktail nuts, and a platter of crudites. The gougerès are at their very best immediately after they are filled so that the pastry stays crisp, but they can also be assembled in advance and served straight from your refrigerator. 

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This recipe makes a generous amount, so if it is just you and your Valentine, consider only filling enough gougerès for the two of you to eat in one evening. You can fill and enjoy the leftover pastries at a later time (you can even experiment with different fillings). Leftover gougerès make a nice light lunch alongside a green salad or a bowl of soup. 

These will also transport well once assembled, so you can bring them as hors d'oeuvre for a dinner party or to add to an appetizer spread at a holiday gathering. Pack the filled gougerès in a single layer in airtight containers and then display them on a platter or plate once you reach your destination.

How can you make Valentine's Day Gruyère and crab gougerès in advance?

The beauty of this recipe for Valentine's Day Gruyère and crab gougerès is that most of the preparation can be done well in advance of serving. The gougerè puffs can be baked, cooled, and frozen in airtight containers for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, remove as many as you need from the freezer, then thaw them and place them in a 350 F oven for 7 minutes to make them crispy again. Slice them and fill them according to the recipe from there. If you don't need to plan too far ahead or don't want to freeze them, the gougerè puffs can also be baked a day in advance, stored in airtight containers at room temperature, and freshened in the oven as above.

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The crab filling may be made several hours or a day in advance. Though best if you fill the puffs immediately, you can also fill them up to 2 hours before serving. Any longer than that, though, and they might become soggy. If you can't serve them right away, keep them refrigerated so that the crab filling stays fresh.

Valentine's Day Gruyère And Crab Gougerès Recipe

5 (11 ratings)

In this elegant gougerès recipe, choux pastry cases are flavored with smoked paprika and piped full of creamy crab filling: A perfect Valentine's Day appetizer.

Prep Time
50
minutes
Cook Time
55
minutes
servings
40
Gougerès
Valentine's Day gruyere and crab gougères on plates
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the gougères
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 ounces grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • For the crab filling
  • 8 ounces fresh crab meat, picked over to remove any shells
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pickled sweet red cherry peppers, stems and seed removed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh fennel
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the flour and reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a smooth dough and pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 2 minutes).
  5. Transfer the dough to a heat-proof bowl and cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to vigorously mix the dough while adding the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is incorporated into the dough before adding the next.
  7. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese, the black pepper, and smoked paprika to the dough and mix thoroughly.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip.
  10. Pipe the dough into smooth mounds in 4 rows of 5 on each baking sheet.
  11. Place a few shreds of the remaining cheese on top of each mound.
  12. Bake the first tray on the center rack for 15 minutes.
  13. Lower the oven temperature to 375 F and bake 10 minutes longer. Do not open the oven during this time.
  14. Remove the gougères from the oven and immediately pierce each one on the side with a toothpick to allow steam to escape.
  15. Repeat the process with the remaining pan.
  16. Cool the gougères completely.
  17. While the gougères are baking, combine the crab meat, sour cream, mayonnaise, cherry peppers, fennel, chives, lemon juice, and Tobasco in a medium bowl.
  18. Use a small serrated knife to slice the gougères almost all the way in half horizontally, leaving a part of the edge intact so the top stays on like a lid.
  19. Use a small scoop or spoon to add about 2 teaspoons of crab filling into each gougère and place the top back on.
  20. Serve the Gruyère and crab gougères immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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