Herb-Gruyere Thumbprints

Herb-Gruyere Thumbprints are the perfect holiday appetizer. They are easy to make and everyone loves them. I’ve made them for wedding receptions, baby showers and holiday parties.The original recipe came from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living and called for Black Forest Ham. I liked the idea of using herbs instead, although ham would have been wonderful, too.

The base of the recipe is a basic and versatile pate choux dough.


(before baking)

I like to use the very best ingredients I can find (or afford), and when I cater, I like to do the same at home. Gruyere is one of my favorite cheeses. It has such a sweet and nutty flavor that is complex at the same time. It’s a very distinctive flavor unlike other Swiss style cheeses, in my opinion. You could substitute another cheese for the Gruyere – perhaps Comte or Emmentaler. (But NOT a deli style Swiss cheese.)


Fresh herbs are a must. Dried just wouldn’t be the same. I like the combination of rosemary and thyme. A little sage would be nice, as would parsley.


Herb-Gruyere Thumbprints
MAKES 36

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
½ tsp. coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs—thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
36 ½” cubes Gruyere (8 oz.)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring butter and salt and 1 cup water to a boil in large saucepan.  Add flour. Stir vigorously until incorporated.  Cook until mixture pulls away from sides and a thin film forms on bottom of pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to large bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon to incorporate each egg before adding the next, about 2 minutes.  Stir in pepper, herbs, and finely shredded cheese.

On a baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat, pipe 1 ½” wide rosettes 1” apart. (I usually get two baking sheets ready–just in case I run out of room on the first.)  After all the dough has been piped onto the baking mat, make a deep indentation in center with dampened thumb. (I use a small bowl of cold water to wet my thumb between making each indentation.)  Bake until crisp and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Press a cheese cube into indentation.

Place on a clean baking sheet. Freeze uncovered until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container. Freeze up to 6 weeks.

**To serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place thumbprint on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted—10 to 14 minutes.

__________________________________________________________________
How-To Pictures and Instructions:

Add flour.



Stir vigorously until incorporated.

Cook until mixture pulls away from sides and a thin film forms on bottom of pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool 2 minutes.


Transfer dough to large bowl.

Add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon to incorporate each egg before adding the next, about 2 minutes.

Egg one:
After egg one–it gets a little slippery, but keep stirring. The egg will incorporate.

Add egg two:

Egg three:

Egg four:
I always think the last egg is the hardest to stir in for some reason.

But, finally, after all eggs are mixed in, a smooth dough comes together.

Stir in pepper, herbs, and finely shredded cheese.



Spoon dough into pastry bag fitted with a ½” star tip.


TIP: I find that it’s hard to fill pastry bags with such a thick and sticky dough. I have a great wet/dry measuring cup from Pampered Chef that a friend gave me. I take out the inside cup and use the hollow cylinder to help me as I fill the bag.


On a baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat, pipe 1 ½” wide rosettes 1” apart. (I usually get two baking sheets ready–just in case I run out of room on the first.)

TIP: I have a set of biscuit/doughnut cutters and I find that the smallest cutter is the perfect size to use as a guide. I dust my silicone baking mat with a light coating of flour and twist circles into the flour.

Having a good grip on the pastry bag is important. The dough is very thick and it takes the right amount of firm pressure to pipe it evenly.

(Don’t mind me not following my circle guides exactly…..)

After all the dough has been piped onto the baking mat, make a deep indentation in center with dampened thumb. (I use a small bowl of cold water to wet my thumb between making each indentation.)

Bake until crisp and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Press a cheese cube into indentation.



Place on a clean baking sheet. Freeze uncovered until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container. Freeze up to 6 weeks.

**To serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place thumbprint on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted—10 to 14 minutes.

You may also like

16 Comments

  1. These look sooo good. I love your idea about sprinkling flour and making templates. That is totally up my alley! I weigh the dough I pull off for rolls so they are all the same size.

  2. Mmmm, dying to try these. As always, your photos are gorgeous. I’m amazed at the way you take such great pictures while cooking and raising two kids and gestating a third. You’re wonder woman.

  3. I made these last week for a family party and they were wonderful. I used parchment and folded it to show spacing, then drew my circles on the back side of the paper.

      1. Lindsey,

        I made these as a Thanksgiving appetizer for my whole family and they were the favorite on the whole table!! Every single person in my family was gushing about them and saying how they tasted so sophisticated and like a special treat, which was great because they were so easy to make! I used chives and parsley since my mom isn’t crazy about rosemary, but they turned out exactly as your step-by-step guide said they should.

        Thank you SO SO much for this recipe!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *