The original recipe came from Martha Stewart but I've modified it to suit my taste buds. I use my proven recipe for pate a choux, add Parmesan cheese to the dough and double the amount of ham.
The recipe starts out with making pate a choux (also called choux paste or cream puff pastry), a base that can be then used for sweet or savory pastries like cream puffs, eclairs, gougeres or thumbprints. The ingredients for pate a choux are simple but the technique requires a little skill. Sarah, one of our new friends, helped with this recipe. Here's what she did.
Water, butter and salt are heated in a saucepan until it just begins to boil (notice the small bubbles). Don't boil it too much or else the water begins to evaporate which throws off the liquid to flour ratio.
Once the water boils, add the flour in quickly (all at once) and start stirring. The flour will absorb the liquid mixture and will come together in a ball. Stir until the dough pulls away from the side and leaves a thin film at the bottom of the pan. Let it sit (off the heat) for about five minutes.
After the dough has cooled, eggs are added one at a time. This is the coolest part of making pate a choux. When you first add the egg and start mixing, the dough looks slimy and loose. As you keep stirring the egg absorbs into the dough and becomes smooth. By the time the last egg is incorporated, the dough is silky and manageable. From here, you can go sweet or savory. We added diced Black Forest ham, parmesan and a little pepper. Some of the thumbprints were piped using a pastry bag and some we formed using a cookie scoop. Then we wet our fingers with water and stuck a thumb in each one to make an indentation. The thumprints were baked for about 25 minutes at 400F. Little blocks of gruyere were added and then baked again until they melted.
This is what they looked like before we ate them. They were yummy. Of course.