Jason demonstrated this Gnocchi for us first. He started out by telling us we were making a Pâte à choux Gnocchi and I immediately thought dessert! I was going to like this. Pâte à choux is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, croquembouches, eclairs, French crullers, and beignets. These are things I could eat on a daily basis. He had my attention right away.
So, as Jason starts the demonstration I kept thinking, I make this all the time and turn it into cream puffs and eclairs. These little Gnocchi are sort of like a dumpling and would be excellent dropped into a nice Italian soup. We cooked them and had them with a marinara sauce on them. They are yummy.
These Gnocchi are served in France in the dish known as “gnocchis à la parisienne”, a hot dish comprising gnocchi formed of choux pastry, and served with Béchamel sauce.
I was so engrossed in learning how to do these and getting onto making my own I completely forgot I had a camera so there is no picture of the finished Gnocchi from this demonstration.
Heat the milk, salt and butter in a deep pan with the butter over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour gradually, and stir rapidly with a stiff heat proof or wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean, with no dough sticking to it.
The dough should be glossy and smooth but still moist.
Enough moisture must evaporate from the dough to allow it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added.
Continue to stir with a kneading motion for about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the dough from coloring.
A thin coating will form on the bottom and sides of the pan.
When enough moisture has evaporated, steam will rise from the dough and the aroma of cooked flour will be noticeable.
Immediately transfer the dough to the stand mixer bowl. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one.
Increase the speed to medium and add another 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
Turn off the machine. Lift some of the dough on a rubber spatula, then turn the spatula to let it run off. It should move down the spatula very slowly; if it doesn’t move at all or is very dry and just falls off in a clump, beat in the additional egg.
Place the dough in a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature. (If you have only a small pastry bag, fill it with half the dough two times.)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. We used a very light terry towel but a tea towel would work excellent for this step. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Twist the end of the pastry bag to push the dough into the tip. (From time to time, as the bag empties, you will need to twist the end again.) As you squeeze the back of the bag with your right hand, hold a small knife in your left hand and cut off 1-inch lengths of dough, allowing the gnocchi to drop into the pot. Pipe about 24 gnocchi per batch.
First, the gnocchi will sink in the pot. Keep the water temperature hot, but do not boil. Once the gnocchi float to the top, poach them for another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on the paper towel lined baking sheet.
Taste one to test the timing; it may still seem slightly undercooked in the center, but it will be cooked again. I cut mine in half and the inside is dry and puffy. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Yield: 6 servings
Source: Austin Whole Foods Culinary Center