Light, airy and flavoured with Quicke's Clothbound Cheddar, this mini version of the classic French pastry makes a lovely pre-dinner nibble, especially when paired with a glass of Yearlstone No 2 wine...
40g butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp salt
A big pinch of chilli powder, or a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper
2 large eggs
A handful of finely-minced chives (or substitute fresh thyme)
90 grated cheese (choose any of Quicke's range depending on how strong you'd like them)
- Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Heat the water, butter, salt, and chilli or pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
- Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t ‘cook.’ The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. (You can transfer the mixture to a bowl before adding to eggs to cool the dough, or do this step in a food processor or electric mixer, if you wish.)
- Add about 3/4s of the grated cheese and the chives, and stir until well-mixed.
- Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.
- Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, the pop the baking sheet in the oven. you can freeze them at this point and cook from frozen, adding a couple of minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190C and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown.
- For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.