It’s party time! I love hosting parties and I love being a guest, and these two recipes can help out with either category.

Still-warm gougères, rich with cheese, tender as clouds, are one of the most scrumptious hors d’oeuvres on the planet. Heretofore, they required last-minute attention, but this do-ahead recipe makes them practical for any party.

And cashews, generously salted and curry-spiced, are a great addition to any party and also make a wonderful hostess gift.


These delicate little savory French puffs are made with choux pastry (as in cream puffs and profiteroles) with a good amount of cheese – traditionally gruyere – added.

Jarlsberg or even cheddar could be substituted. The best thing about this particular recipe is its make-and-freeze feature, which I found in one of the brilliant Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks and adapted. You could certainly spoon out the dough into tablespoon-size mounds, but a pastry bag does make it go more quickly and easily.

Makes about 65

5 eggs

1/2 cup butter, cut in several pieces

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups grated Gruyere cheese

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Whisk 1 of the eggs with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Clear space in the freezer for 2 baking sheets.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the butter, salt and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and add flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour is no longer visible. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a film on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer dough to a large bowl.

Add both cheeses, the chives, paprika and nutmeg and stir to combine well. Cool for a couple of minutes, then add the remaining 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating with an electric mixer or stirring vigorously after each addition. Dough will be shiny and quite stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip if using. Pipe 1½-inch mounds onto prepared sheets. Using a pastry brush dipped in the egg wash, smooth off points on top.

Place baking sheets in freezer. When gougères are frozen solid, transfer to freezer bags and freeze for up to a month. Save parchment paper to use again.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment again.

Arrange puffs 1 inch apart on prepared sheets and place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake until puffed and pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve the gougères warm or at room temperature.


Recipes for spiced nuts abound, but this is my current favorite. I was trying to recreate something that I enjoyed at a large cocktail party and, after quite a bit of research, I believe I’ve come pretty close. I’m not sure what the presoaking does – in fact it seems counterintuitive – but it must plump up the nuts to prepare them for the slow roast.

Makes 2 cups

5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 cups raw cashews

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon sugar

In a medium bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of the salt in 2½ cups water. Add cashews and soak for 1 hour. Drain into a strainer and place on a double thickness of paper towel to dry thoroughly.

Heat oven to 225 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss nuts with remaining 3 teaspoons salt, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika and sugar, rubbing spices into nuts.

Spread out in an even layer on baking sheet and roast, stirring every 30 minutes or so, for about 2 hours, or until cashews are toasty brown and dry and crisp.

Cool to room temperature. Serve within a day or 2 or freeze in a plastic container or freezer bag for up to a month.

Brooke Dojny is the author of “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted at:

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