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What to Eat: Bacon Cheese Puffs

What to Eat: Bacon Cheese Puffs
Posted at 8:30 AM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:40:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- If you're looking to class up a classic, this What's to Eat is here to help!

Chef Jaime Green of Jaime's Personal Chef Services joined us on WTXL Sunrise to teach us how to make bacon cheddar gougères, with smoky whipped pimento and pepper jelly sauce. Or, a fancy way to say some tasty bacon cheddar cheese puffs! 

This recipe takes several steps, but you can create a base ingredient that can be used in many other recipes. The dish, for example, starts with gougères, or a small pastry dough. That base can be used for something savory, like this dish, or even something sweet like eclairs. 

Chef Jaime specialized in in-home meal services, dinner parties, small event catering and in-home cooking lessons. For more information, call (850) 408-3700 or follow her on Facebook. 

Here's Chef Jaime's step-by-step instructions: 

Gougère

- 8 pieces of bacon crumbled

- Unsalted butter, cut into pieces (amount determined below)

- 3/4 cup water

- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

- 6 tablespoons of shredded aged cheddar cheese, divided

- 3 large eggs

Preheat medium skillet over low to medium heat. Cut bacon into ½ inch dice, and add to preheated pan and cook 5-7 minutes, when bacon is dark brown and cooked thoroughly. Remove bacon pieces and set aside. Strain bacon fat and reserve.

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a large baking sheet. Measure bacon fat, then add enough cold butter cut into pieces to equal 6 tablespoons. Bring butter/bacon fat, water, and black pepper to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium, then add flour all at once and cook, beating with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from side of pan and a film starts to show on the bottom and sides of the pan, about 30 seconds. The mixture will form a ball as well. Fold in 3 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition.

Transfer warm mixture to pastry bag or gallon zip lock back with the bottom corner trimmed and pipe 24 mounds 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each mound. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes total. Prick each gougère once with a skewer, then return to oven to dry, propping oven door slightly ajar, 3 minutes. Cool on sheet on a rack.

Smoky Whipped Pimento Cheese

- 8 ounces of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

- 4 ounces of finely shredded sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese

- 4 ounces of mascarpone cheese, room temperature

- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

- 1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

- ½ teaspoon of black pepper

- 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted on a gas flame or broiled in the oven, then diced into ¼ inch pieces

- ¼-3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients with a large spoon or rubber spatula, until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a food processor and add ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. Process the mixture until light and airy, adding more cream as needed.

 Pepper Jelly Sauce

- 1 cup of prepared pepper jelly, store purchased or home made

- ¼ cup of water, more as needed

- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine jelly and water and whisk until mixture turns to sauce, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or squeeze bottle.

To assemble: Fold reserve bacon pieces into pimento cheese until combined. Slice gougères halfway, then fill with pimento cheese-bacon mixture. Drizzle sauce over the gougeres or next to the gougeres on a platter. Serve at room temperature.

Remember, you can catch What's to Eat every Friday morning on WTXL Sunrise.