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Your guide to gougeres

December 21, 2010 | 11:03 am

Baking_sheet Here's an early peek at what's coming in this week's Food section -- it's Times Food editor Russ Parsons' California Cook column:

As a cook, I am prone to enthusiasms and sometimes, perhaps more often than occasionally, they can be a bit excessive. I readily admit that. But please, trust me on this one: Frozen gougères are the best thing I've discovered this year. No, really.

Doubt me? Think about this: a crisp, crusty savory cream puff, lighter than air but rich with the utterly irresistible fragrance of browned Gruyère cheese. And here's all you have to do to fix them: Remove from freezer; place on cookie sheet; bake for a half-hour. All of the hard work — making the dough, piping it into puffs — can be done well in advance.

Amazing. This could be to holiday entertaining what the discovery of electricity was to indoor lighting.

Click here to read the rest of the column, and check out this step-by-step photo gallery to making gougères, perhaps for Christmas or New Year's Eve.

RELATED:

-- Dine out, party down: What do to on Christmas and New Year's Eve

-- The secret to prize-winning apple pie

-- Meet the medlar

Photo credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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