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Author interviews

Kristen Harmel Christmas recipe

December 3, 2012



In France, cheese puffs with gruyere are called “gougères” and are considered a perfect pairing with red wine from Burgundy. I tried selling them in boxes of 24 in the North Star Bakery in the ‘70s, but they never really caught on; people wanted sweet then, not savory.

These easy cheese puffs have, however, remained one of my favorite recipes to make at home. When you were little, I sometimes substituted cheddar cheese for the gruyere and served them with tomato soup.

Gougères are traditionally made with plenty of eggs, and in fact, this characterizes them. But one morning, I was planning to make these to surprise your mother – who loved them – and I realized I had run out.

So the recipe below is what I made instead, and in fact, I prefer these. They’re much easier – and they’ll be perfect for Annie to help with.

Love always, Mamie

• ½ stick (¼ cup) softened butter (plus more for greasing cookie sheet)
• 2/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
• 2 tsp. crushed, dried rosemary
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
• ½ tsp. salt

1. Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Sometimes I like to dive in with floured hands. The dough will still feel very crumbly. If you absolutely can’t get it to stick together, pop the dough in the microwave for 20 seconds, which will be just enough to soften the cheese. Mix until it sticks together.
2. Refrigerate for one hour. The dough will be easier to work with once it chills.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter two cookie sheets.
4. Roll dough into small, bite-sized balls with your hands. You should have about 3 dozen.
5. Place onto cookie sheets and bake for 6-7 minutes. Cool slightly and serve with wine (for adults) or tomato soup. Store leftovers in refrigerator and reheat before serving.


If you’re tantalised by that little taster and craving more, why not enter our competition for the chance to win one of the first five proof copies of Kirsten’s Harmel’s Sweetness of Forgetting.

Just answer the following question:

In which European capital city is Sweetness of Forgetting mostly set?

Email your answer to Christmas@quercusbooks.co.uk before midnight to enter the competition. Good luck and Happy Christmas!

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