Gruyère gougère with ratatouille

    1 hour 55 min

    Many cooks won't attempt to make a gougère, which is a choux pastry ring, because they think it's too difficult. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Choux pastry is very simple to make, and it can be prepared ahead – shape the gougère and bake just before serving. The filling, too, can be made in advance.

    8 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • Choux pastry
    • 55 g (2 oz) butter
    • 75 g (2½ oz) plain flour
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 55 g (2 oz) Gruyère cheese, finely grated
    • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    • Roasted ratatouille filling
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large aubergine, cut into 2 cm (¾ in) chunks
    • 2 courgettes, cut into 2 cm (¾ in) chunks
    • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 can borlotti beans, about 410 g, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
    • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Ready in:1hr55min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas mark 7). First make the roasted ratatouille. Drizzle the oil over the bottom of a large roasting tin, then add the aubergine, courgettes, red and green peppers, onion and garlic. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil. Roast for 35–40 minutes or until golden brown and tender, turning the vegetables over after 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make the choux pastry. Put the butter and 150 ml (5 fl oz) water in a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted, then bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, remove from the heat and quickly tip in the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then gradually beat in the eggs to make a smooth, stiff paste. Beat in the cheese and cayenne pepper.
    3. Spoon the choux pastry evenly around the edge of a greased, shallow, 1.2 litre (2 pint) round or oval ovenproof dish. Put into the oven (still at the same temperature) and bake for about 25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. (During the baking time, do not open the oven door.)
    4. When the gougère is almost done, put the borlotti beans in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the parsley, chopped thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until heated through.
    5. Add the roasted vegetables to the bean mixture and stir gently to mix. Spoon this filling into the centre of the freshly baked gougère and serve.

    Plus points

    Unlike many other foods, there are minimal losses of nutrients when cheese is cooked. * Roasting vegetables brings out their full flavour and is a very low-fat method of cooking. * Garlic is a source of the phytochemical allicin, believed to have both anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Allicin is created when garlic is cut or smashed, and allicin produces the characteristic smell and taste. The more you chop garlic, the more pungent it will be.

    Some more ideas

    Make 4 large choux buns instead of a ring. Spoon the choux pastry into mounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Split open and fill with the roasted ratatouille mixture. * Replace the Gruyère with Emmenthal or fontina cheese, and the cayenne pepper with 4 thinly sliced spring onions and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. * For leek and mushroom gougère, soften 1 thinly sliced leek in 1 tbsp sunflower oil, then add 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) thickly sliced chestnut mushrooms and 1 crushed garlic clove. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and have exuded their juices. Stir in 3 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme and 1 can black-eyed beans, about 410 g, drained and rinsed. Season to taste. Heat through gently, then use to fill the freshly baked gougère.

    Each serving provides

    A, C * B1, B6, B12, E, folate, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc * B2, niacin, copper, selenium

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