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Chive Puffs with Smoked Salmon

Serves: Makes 24 puffs

Ingredients:

  • Chive puffs:
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, plus 1 more, if needed
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) finely grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash


  • Smoked salmon filling:
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1-½ tablespoons capers, minced
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1-½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 ounces hot-smoked salmon, crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Procedures:

The base for these light and cheesy snacks is pâte à choux, the same dough used to make profiteroles and éclairs. Even if you are intimidated by other pastry-making, pâte à choux is quick, easy and low stress. It used to require strenuous beating by hand to blend the eggs into the dough, but now it’s simple: the stand mixer does all the work. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 400°F and position two racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

To prepare dough: Place the butter, water and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon, so the butter melts evenly. When the butter has melted, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously with the wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a mass around the spoon.

Place the pan back over medium heat and continue to cook, beating, for another minute or so to dry out the dough—the pan will have a thin film of dough on the bottom.

Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute to slightly cool the dough and develop the gluten. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, allowing each addition to blend completely into the dough before continuing. When all 4 eggs are incorporated, the mixture should be shiny and elastic and stick to the side of the bowl. It should also pass the “string test:” place a bit of dough between your thumb and forefinger and pull them apart. The dough should form a stretchy string about 1-½ to 2-inches long. If the dough has not reached this stage, beat the extra egg and continue adding it, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is finished. Stir in the grated Gruyère cheese and chives.

To pipe dough: Spoon the pastry dough into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip. Pipe the dough into 1-inch circles, about ½- to ¾-inch high. To stop the flow of dough from the pastry bag and disconnect it from the piped dough, slice a lightly oiled paring knife across the opening of the tip.

To bake dough: Brush a light coating of beaten egg over the tops of the piped dough with a silicone pastry brush. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, rotating the baking sheets between the racks and from front to back, and continue to bake until the puffs are deep golden brown, with no bubbling moisture visible around the sides, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

To prepare the smoked salmon filling: Place the mayonnaise, capers, horseradish, lemon juice, parsley and smoked salmon in a large bowl and mix with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Using a sharp paring knife, slice the puffs in half around the middle. Using a teaspoon, fill the bottom of the puff with the smoked salmon mixture and place the lid on the top. Repeat with all puffs, transfer to a platter and serve.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

 
 
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