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Cream Puffs with Mushroom Duxelles and St. Andre Cheese

(Use mild mushrooms for pairing with white wines, strong flavored mushrooms for pairing with reds. See cook’s note below.)

For the Cream Puffs:
½ cup water
½ cup milk
1 stick butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup flour
1 tsp. Salt
4 eggs
1 tsp. Dried thyme

For the Filling:
3 tbsp. Butter
2 tbsp. Minced shallots
½ lb. fresh  mushrooms*, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
3 tbsp. Chopped fresh herbs (try thyme, sage, parsley and chives)
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz. St. Andre cheese (if not available try a well-aged Brie)

Make Cream Puffs: Bring water and milk to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Reduce heat to medium, add the butter and stir to melt completely. Add the flour all at once, remove pan from heat and stir flour mixture until all the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. Return pan to heat and stir constantly 5 minutes or so until steam is no longer coming out of dough. Place dough into the bowl of an electric mixer and turn on to lowest speed to cool dough. When cooled, add eggs, one at a time, beating till smooth after each addition. Stir in the dried thyme.

Place small teaspoonfuls of dough on prepared sheet pans (non-stick, or parchment covered) and bake 20 minutes in a preheated 375 degree F oven. Remove puffs from oven, put a slit in each one to allow steam to escape, and bake another 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Continue with remaining dough; makes approximately 60 small puffs.

Make Filling: Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until they are tender, liquid has evaporated, and mushrooms are browned nicely. This takes approximately 10 minutes. Add the fresh herbs, the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow mushroom mixture to cool to room temperature. Mushrooms can now be used or kept in the refrigerator (in an airtight container) for a few days.

Fill and serve the Puffs: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare two sheet pans with foil or parchment paper. Slice each puff in half and place the bottoms on the sheet pans; set the tops in a bowl and set them aside. Put a small amount of mushroom duxelles into the bottom half of each puff. Put a tiny amount to St. Andre cheese on top of the mushrooms. Place tops of puffs onto the stuffed cream puff bottoms and bake approximately 6 minutes or until pastry is crispy, filling is heated through and cheese has begun to melt. Place hot puffs on a serving tray and serve immediately. Makes enough for 15 to 20 guests to have 3 or 4 puffs each. (Extra puffs freeze beautifully!)

 

*Cook’s Note:    Mushrooms come in such a tremendous variety of flavors, colors and price. Wild mushrooms are best in the Fall and are typically foraged for by hand, so they can get very pricy. This recipe is very flexible- use the darker, more woodsy-flavored mushrooms (such as Porcini, Morel, Shiitake, etc.) for pairing this recipe with red wines. For pairing with white wines, lighter more “nutty” mushrooms such as Chanterelle, Crimini, or even simple white button mushrooms are best. You can also mix plain button mushrooms with wild mushrooms and get very good results.

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