Let’s talk about Thanksgiving appetizers. Specifically these Herbed Gruyere Thumbprints. Aren’t they purty?
The original recipe called for finely chopped Black Forest Ham. I changed it up by using fresh herbs instead of the ham. Most of the events I catered had plenty of meat and poultry on the menu, so I liked the idea of having something vegetarian. And time and time again, they were (and are) the most popular thing on the buffet table.
Their popularity comes from the fact that they are absolutely irresistible. The melted Gruyere centers aside, the puffs themselves are loaded with finely shredded cheese and fresh herbs. They are tasty, plain and simple. They are also pop-able. They disappear by the half dozen if you aren’t paying attention. Even kids love them.
I make them several times a year, but most often as a Thanksgiving or Christmas appetizer. They have become a real tradition in our family and it doesn’t seem like anyone is keen to give them up just yet. :)
As I said, these are super easy to make. If you’ve made pate choux dough before, then you’ll know that these come together in a jiffy. The only time consuming part comes from piping them onto silicone baking mats, and even that’s easier than it sounds.
On the old post, I have step-by-step photographs that really do come in handy. It’s worth a peek just to make sure you’re on the right track. But really, it’s nothing more than piping the Gruyere-laden pate choux dough onto the cookie sheets, making an indentation in the center, partially baking them, and adding a cube of Gruyere into the center. From there you can stick them back into the oven to be served immediately, or you can freeze them (cheese cube and all) until you want to bake some. I like knowing I have a few containers of these in the freezer in case we have unexpected guests or get invited to a party and need to take something.
Anyway, trust me. You want to make these for Thanksgiving. They’re just right when everyone is waiting on the turkey and their tummies are starting to rumble. But they are also great later on, long after dinner with a fizzy drink. Or anytime really. (My kids come home from school and ask me to put a few in the oven for them. ha!)
- 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
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs—thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
- 36 ½” cubes Gruyere (8 oz.)
- 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.
This recipe was originally posted on Cafe Johnsonia in 2008.