This is one of my favourite recipes – it is super delicious, fun to make, and uses the same dough used for profiteroles, pâte à choux, to create light buttery gnocchi that is poached in water rather than baked then fried until crispy.
This is a great example of how mastering a basic technique is much more important than mastering a specific recipe – which was a concept very useful in the Masterchef kitchen!
Once you have mastered the art of making a good pâte à choux, this French-style hot water dough can be transformed into profiteroles, eclairs
or a Paris-Brest, or deep-fried to make beignets or French cruller doughnuts, or mixed with herbs and cheese and baked to make savoury gougères or like this recipe – boiled to make Gnocchi! It is a technique definitely worth mastering!
Also, this recipe is a bit of a blank canvas, mine is favoured with lemon thyme brown butter and sorrel, but you can be super creative and add whatever ingredients you want at the end – ham and Gruyère cheese, roast Brussels sprouts and leeks, roast tomatoes, the options are endless!
If you can’t find sorrel, baby spinach is a great substitute! Sorrel is very similar to spinach but has a really lovely zesty, lemon flavour.
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 100 ml water
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cracked pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 2-3 large eggs
- 100 g plain flour
- 50 g Manchego cheese or parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 1 bunch of lemon thyme leaves picked, stems removed
- ½ lemon zested and for juice
- 1 handful of sorrel finely sliced
- 20 g Manchego cheese or parmesan cheese, finely grated
- For the pâte à choux, In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour all at once and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth dough. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to beat the dough vigorously until the dough pulls away from sides of the pot leaving a thin layer on the bottom and starts to steam.
- Place into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or if you don’t have one, continue the same method in the saucepan). Add the cheese and beat on low to cool the dough until it stops steaming.
- Once the mixture has cooled, whisk the eggs in a small bowl, and slowly add them a little at a time until your mixture is glossy, but still firm enough to hold its shape when piped. When you lift the beaters (or wooden spoon) the mixture should fall off and leave a ‘v’ shape on the beaters.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle (or you can just use a ziplock bag and cut the corner off).
- For the gnocchi, In another medium saucepan (with a lip to hold the string), using some butchers string tie the string around the pot and then back over the middle of the pot tieing again at the pot’s handle. Make sure the string is as taught as possible. (If you don’t have string, you can use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip a length of gnocchi off as you pipe it, making sure you wet the scissors in hot water between snips so it doesn’t stick! This is a 2 person job that the kids will love!)
- Add some salted hot water to the saucepan about ½ full and bring to a boil.
- Pipe your Gnocchi mixture over the string, dragging it across the string to cut it off at even lengths. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan and there is about a minute between the start and finish of piping your Gnocchi.
- Once they float to the surface, give them about 1 minute to cook, then remove them using a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with paper towel to cool. Toss in a little olive oil to stop them sticking and then you can finish them off straight away, or refrigerate them in a sealed container for up to a few days for a quick easy meal.
- To serve, in a medium frypan, add the butter and lemon thyme and allow to foam and start to colour. Add the gnocchi to the pan and lemon zest and allow the gnocchi to crisp up and the butter to go brown and nutty. When golden brown and crispy transfer into 2 serving bowls, squeeze over a little lemon juice, sprinkle with extra Manchego cheese and a generous amount of sliced sorrel. Serve immediately
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Disclaimer - Nutritional information is provided as a guide only
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