Apple Cheddar Gougères with Crispy Prosciutto
For the gougères:
1 cup skim milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups diced apples (such as Gala, Lady Crisp or Fuji)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon all spice
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup hard cider (I used Stella Artois Cidre)
3 slices of prosciutto
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a medium sauce pan, warm the skim milk, butter, salt and pepper over medium heat. Bring it to a bubble and whisk the butter until it is completely melted. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously for about 5 minutes. It will be extremely thick and form into a ball. Place this into a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, add the eggs and cheddar cheese and pulse until it is creamy and fully combined.
Using a tiny ice cream scoop or a pastry bag with a 1 inch tip (I prefer the ice cream scoop for ease, just dip in hot water periodically), place about 1 tablespoon sized mounds on the prepared baking tray, about 20 puffs per tray, with about 1 inch spaces between. If the mounds are not perfectly round, use a wet fingertip to lightly pat into shape. At this point, you can place your baking trays in the freezer to bake at a later point. Otherwise, continue by lightly brushing each puff with the egg wash, then bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Make the filling by melting the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apples and stir in the cinnamon, all spice and ground clove. When the apples are fragrant, stir in the agave nectar and hard cider. Let the apples cook down until their are tender and the liquid is syrupy. Set aside.
Crisp the prosciutto in a non stick skillet and set aside.
Assemble the gougères by removing the tops of the baked puffs, filling them with a teaspoon or two of apple and topping with a sliver of crisp prosciutto. Serve immediately.