mini blt cheese puffs with lobster salad

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This is a fun appetizer to make any time of year. Most people think BLT and they think summer, which is what makes these such a fantastic, unexpected flavor combination around the holidays. Plus, they’re red and green, so they’re perfect for Christmas! Pair these elegant little gougeres with a crisp, fruity white wine.

~ makes approximately 30 appetizers ~

for the cheese puffs {gougeres} :

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup water

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

6 oz. grated gruyere cheese

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 large egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, bring butter, salt, nutmeg and 1 cup of water to a boil. Stir just until the butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring vigorously, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a soft ball. Continue cooking, stirring vigorously, until dough is no longer sticky and a thin film forms on the sides of the pan (approximately 2 minutes.) Remove from pan and allow dough to cool for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating the first egg completely before adding the second. Mix in the cheese and white pepper.

Scrape dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2″ round tip. Pipe 1 inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush gougeres with egg wash using a pastry brush. Bake until puffed and golden and dry in the center (approximately 25 minutes.) You’ll know they’re done when you tap them and they sound hollow.

Note ~ Dough can be made 4 hours ahead (cover and chill.) Gougeres can be baked 2 hours ahead. Warm them a bit before serving.

To make the BLT Puff Appetizers:

 1/2 cup to 1 cup guacamole mixed until fairly smooth

1/2 cup to 1 cup homemade or store bought lobster salad (I love this simple recipe)

1/2 lb. to 1 lb. bacon, fried until crispy and cooled a bit

small arugula leaves

thin slices of cherry tomatoes

real mayonnaise mixed with black pepper and garlic powder, to taste

Gently split the gougeres. On each bottom, working up, spread a little guacamole, top with a spoonful of lobster salad, some bacon, and then a slice of tomato. Spread a thin film of the garlic mayo on the inside of the top half of each gougere. Place tops on appetizers and serve.



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