festive holiday recipes #12 & #13: savory puffs and squash butter

full lunch setup-

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I’d share a savory recipe with you? Today is the day! Sadly, in my rush to take a few quick photos so we could eat this tasty-looking lunch, I only managed to take one photo of the savory puffs and one of the squash butter. Food blogger fail.

On to the food!

squash butter

Squash Butter. You can thank my dear friend Anna for this one (HI ANNA!). This originally started off as zucchini butter, but after some experimentation, she found that yellow squash, instead of zucchini, yielded a more flavorful result. You could pretty much eat this straight by the spoonful because it is so ridiculously delicious, but it’s also a perfect accoutrement to your charcuterie/cheese/meat/cracker plate. Or as a replacement for butter on your dinner rolls. You know what, just make it and try it on everything.

savory puffs

Savory Puffs. The puffs were a last minute addition to the Friendsgiving day menu. I figured we’d want something bread-y besides crackers to snack on pre-meal, and they seemed to fit the bill. The instructions may seem complicated (the dough is basically an amped up pate a choux, which means using your stovetop AND mixer), but it comes together easily and you can totally use a ziploc bag to pipe it, no fancy pastry equipment necessary.

They puff up all light and airy-like, although to be honest, I let mine sit at room temp for a while post-baking and they did flatten out a tad. Didn’t hurt the flavor one bit, though. If you like, you can change up the cheese and herb combo here, though I found the gruyere/rosemary/chive combo to me pretty dang magnificent. They’re tasty on their own, but add some squash butter or mustard, a piece of cheese, and some salami to it, and you’ve got yourself an awesome mini sandwich-like snack.

Recipes are below!

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Savory Puffs
recipe adapted ever so slightly from Joy the Baker

1 cup water
6 TB unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
4 TB finely chopped fresh chives
1 TB finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese

Directions:

  1. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, salt, pepper, and mustard.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted and the mixture is brought to a simmer, lower heat slightly, and add flour all at once.  Stir immediately using a stiff heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon.  Stir until the mixture thickens, pulls away from the side of the pan, forms a mass, and the bottom of the pan is clean.  The mixture will be glossy and damp.
  3. We’re going to cook the dough over a low flame.  This will allow moisture to evaporate from the dough, allowing it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added.  Stir for about 5 minutes.  A thin gluten coat will form along the bottom and sides of the pan.  When enough moisture has evaporated, the dough will steam and the cooking flour will smell slightly nutty.
  4. Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, releasing some of the heat from the cooked dough.  Add four eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is thoroughly incorporated.  Stop the mixer between each egg addition and scrape down the bowl and attachment.  After beating in the last egg the mixture should be glossy and thick… but still just pourable.  When scooped into a spoon, the dough should slowly pour off the spoon.  If it doesn’t fall, or it falls in one giant clump… beat in the 5th egg.  I totally needed to add the 5th egg.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in the chives, rosemary, lemon zest, and cheese until thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch pastry tip. A large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off works too! On the prepared sheets, pipe out dough into circles so that they are about 1 1/2-inches across, about 3/4-inch tall.  Space them about 1 1/2-inches apart on the sheet pan.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.  Rotate the pans from bottom shelf to top.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and bake for 15 minutes more.
  8. Remove a puff from the oven and slice in half.  If the inside is not gooey, but still just moist, they’re done!  If they’re gooey, bake for another 3 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. These puffs are great at room temperature, or slightly warm.  To warm them, toast in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes before serving.

Squash Butter

**All amounts listed can be changed to suit your tastes. Also, feel free to add minced garlic right before you add the squash!

4 medium-sized yellow squash
2 shallots, finely diced
2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry your squash. Coarsely shred using a box grater (or however you usually shred things.)
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add diced shallot to the pan, and cook until softened slightly.
  4. Add squash to the pan. Continue cooking over medium heat until squash is caramelized and takes on a jam-like consistency. The goal here is NOT to scorch the squash, so you may need to turn your heat down, depending on your pan/stove situation.
  5. Season as desired with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve!

setup 3-

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