Le Gruyère AOP and tomato choux fritters

makes 20
45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 150g of Gruyère, Classic
  • 140g of strong white bread flour
  • 300g of water, cold
  • 100g of salted butter
  • 5 eggs, medium
  • 1/2 red onion, medium
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 30g of basil
  • 10g of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, heaped
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt, or 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon, cut into wedges to serve
  • 1.5l oil, for frying (I used peanut oil for its high smoke point)

Method

1
Measure the flour into a bowl, add 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Set aside
2
Add the water and the butter to a medium-large saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat. Tip in the flour, all in one go, and very quickly start beating the mixture together with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk
3
Keep mixing until the dough is lump-free and has formed a ball which pulls away from the sides of the pan. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl and add, a little at a time, until each addition is fully incorporated. When the mixture is ready, it will be shiny and smooth – it should have enough body to hold its shape when dolloped, but not thicker than that
4
You can also use a Thermomix to make the choux pastry – bring the butter and water to the boil on Varoma setting, then turn off the heat, add the flour and start whisking on setting 4 until the mixture is lump free. The mixture will look smoother at this point than if you make it in a pan and beat by hand. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on setting 4 until fully incorporated and smooth
5
Press some cling film onto the surface to stop it forming a skin while you prepare the seasonings
6
Cut off 50g of the Le Gruyère AOP and finely grate. Cut the rest of the cheese into 1cm cubes. Finely dice the red onion. Crush or finely chop the garlic. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces (about 1/2cm squares). Pick the basil leaves from the stalks and finely chop. Finely chop the parsley leaves, using the stems to hold onto as you chop, but don’t use the stems – they are bitter
7
Add all the prepared seasonings, together with the Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, to the mixing bowl – remember to take off the cling film first! Mix everything together well with a wooden spoon
8
Heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 to keep the fritters warm as you fry in batches. Cover a baking tray with kitchen paper, 2-3 sheets thick
9
Add the frying oil to a large, deep saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 180°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping in a cube of fresh bread. It should take 30-45 seconds to brown and the oil should bubble vigorously around the bread as it fries. If the oil is too hot when you add food, it will absorb the fat. If it’s too hot when you cook these fritters, the inside will stay liquid while the outside overcooks
10
Work in batches to fry the fritters. Using a tablespoon, add small dollops of choux mixture (about 5cm round) to the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan – I fry 5-6 fritters at a time. If they stick together, gently poke them apart
11
Fry until deep brown, turning occasionally in the hot oil so they cook evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the paper-covered baking tray in the oven to keep warm. Continue with the rest of the mixture
12
Serve immediately with glasses of chilled crémant and lemon wedges to squeeze over the fritters