It was the fourth test that did the trick.
I came across this recipe for “Russian Cheese Galette” while on a web surf. The title is what made me stop – a lovely, savory cheese pie, baked into – who knew – a sour cream pastry crust?
As it happens, while some Russians may indeed call this a galette – it is, in fact, a riff on gougère – but without the choux.
Choux or not, it was still pretty darned tricky to get right – witness my first test bake (as wisely recommended by Ms. Alesia Dusmikeeva – the author of the recipe).
It may be because I was translating from Celsius and grams to Farenheit and cups (tho’ strangely, teaspoons stayed the same); or it may simply be that the recipe itself is devilishly fussy, as Ms. Dusmikeeva no doubt was trying to impress upon the unwitting attempter by strongly urging test baking one bit, and then tinkering until it comes out as you hoped.
After that first crispy bit of cheese dust, I went back to the web for guidance, lowered the oven temp from my conversion of 220ºC to 425ºF to an even 400º, added 3 tbsp of flour to the dough, and came up with this:
By the way, did I tell you that I was only making these little buggers because I had that half an egg left from the lemon-basil butter cookies and didn’t want it to go to waste?
•1 cup grated cheese – I used half Swiss, which is apparently the cheese of choice, and half Spanish Drunken Goat
•2 sticks of butter, softened
•1/2 cup flour, sifted, plus more – I would start with at least 3/4 cup if you plan on attempting this recipe
•1/4 tsp pepper
•1 pinch cayenne pepper
•1/8 tsp salt to taste
•1 egg, beaten with 1-1/2 tsp cold water
Heat oven to 400º (let’s not talk about the 425º mess, OK?).
Combine all the ingredients in a mixer – it will be sticky – remove one tablespoon, roll it into a semblance of a ball, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, flatten out a bit, and pop into the oven – the first test was 10 minutes and we know how that turned out.
Add 3 tbsp more flour to the dough and try it again – this time for 7-1/2 minutes.
Another 3 tbsp flour, and 6 minutes, 30 seconds.
3 more – this time HEAPING – tablespoons of flour and, once again into the breach – ermmm, oven.
I might could’ve added some more flour and done another test – but, quite frankly, my patience was wearing thin by this point.
To review – in total, I used 1 cup and 1 tbsp of flour – but let us not quibble; try 1-1/4 cup at the start, get on with it, and save yourself all of the heartache and cursing.
But still do a test run.
When ready, scoop out your dough by tablespoon measures on your parchment lined baking sheets, flatten slightly, and brush with the egg and water mixture.
Back into the oven – mine looked best by far baked at 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Cool your gougère, galette, whatever the heck you want to call it, on a wire rack – and prepare to enjoy enough light, cheesy goodness that you may not mind all of the bother getting to it.
They are tasty.