Choux Gnocchi

For all those who find potato gnocchi too heavy, and let’s face it they really can be, choux gnocchi are the perfect solution. These little pillows of flavor go great with roasted meats. They also make an excellent course on their own tossed together with split cherry tomatoes or roasted root vegetables. That of course is just the beginning of the utility of choux gnocchi, just use your imagination. Because they freeze so well, they make a great last-minute addition to virtually menu regardless of the season. If you can stir and simmer you can make them easily.

Start by mixing up a batch of choux batter. To that add about half a cup of grated cheese. These gratings are very fine (I used a microplane grater) so I’m adding closer to a cup. Just about any kind of hard or semi-firm cheese is nice here. This is parmesan but gruyère, comté, emmentaler, cheddar or manchego also work really well.

You know what else is great in these? Herbs. I’m serving these to the little ones tonight and they worry about little anonymous green flecks. But if these were just for Mrs. Pastry and me, I’d add about three tablespoons of mixed herbs: parsley and chives for sure, but maybe also dill, tarragon, chervil, basil, fennel or thyme. Whatever matches your meal, knowadimean? A tablespoon or so of dry mustard added to all that wouldn’t hurt either.

So, once that’s all done and loaded into a pastry bag with only a collar, bring a medium pan of water to the boil. As with pasta water, this should be amply salted. You want it to taste like sea water. You’ll start to worry when you get up to a quarter cup or more depending on the size of the pot, but just remember that almost all the salt will stay in the water. The gnocchi will take up just enough to season them.

When the water starts to simmer, prepare an ice bath. You’ll immerse the boiled gnocchi in here to stop the cooking when they’re done.

So then, extrude about 3/4 of an inch of batter from the bag, then lop it off with a sharp knife and let it fall into the water. Watch out for splashing…hold the bag and knife low over the edge of the pot to discourage it. You’ll get a little steamy, but that’s better than getting splattered. Drop in about two dozen per batch.

When they’re all in, set the timer for three minutes. The gnocchi will sink at first, then float and puff a bit.

Remove them with a spider or slotted spoon…

…and plop them in the ice bath.

Don’t let them soak in there for too long. They’re completely cooled once they sink.

At that point transfer them to a paper towel-covered baking sheet. Pat them dry as opportunities present themselves. You’ll get the hang of having a batch cooking, one cooling and one drying all at once.

So then. At this point you can hold them covered in the fridge for a full day. Or you can freeze them if you like. Put the whole sheet in the freezer for a few hours, then pour the frozen gnocchi into bags of whatever size you like. They’ll keep for two or three months. Thaw them by pouring them out on a sheet and letting them sit at room temperature for an hour or so.

So, for final the final prep step you have a couple of options. You can sauté them in a little butter (great if you want to toss in some fresh or roasted veggies just before plating), or you can bake them, which is easier if you already have something baking in the oven. They’ll bake up well at temperatures between 350 and 425. Lay them out in a single layer in either a single large dish or several small ones (as long as they’re oven-proof of course). Bake them until they puff, 15-25 minutes depending on the heat.

When they’re puffed and lightly browned, pull them out and sprinkle on a little more cheese.

Turn the broiler on and give them a last little toast before serving…just a minute or two.

Mrs. Pastry is particularly partial to these. Oh man…where’s a glass of dry Kabinett Riesling when you really need one?

12 thoughts on “Choux Gnocchi”

  1. I’m so glad you did this! I’d never heard of this before seeing it on another blog a few weeks ago. Thanks for including the storage/various preparation methods – you’re my favorite source for all things pastry for a reason, Joe. I love love love both gnocchi and choux, so a choux gnocchi is pretty much my perfect food. I know what I’m doing this weekend (also, when I was a kid I was totally against “anonymous green flecks” in food, too)!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Nicole! Let me know how they turn out — and what flavorings you used!

      And yeah, we were all kids once…I’m sure I turned my nose up at herbs plenty!

      – Jim

  2. Now, are these like dumplings; solid throughout and soft or are they like puffs; hollow-ish and light? Does the sautéing or baking after boiling make allow them to puff like regular choux? I guess I’m asking about the texture of the final product.

    1. Hi Susan! Good question. They’re extremely light but not hollow inside…so somewhere between a dumpling and a choux if that helps at all. You really have to try them to know. They’re unlike any other dumpling you’ve had. “Pillows of flavor” is the best I could do with a description. That’s really it! Cheers,

      – Joe

  3. Fascinating. I’ve been running bagels for a couple of months now, so the idea of boiling dough isn’t quite to much of a stretch as it used to be – this sounds like a really fun project (particularly since, with 4 kids in the house, making/freezing and then baking up later is a major positive)!

  4. I assume that being boiled they don’t soak in water or tomato sauce. Any hopes of these being lower-calorie than potatoe gnocchi? That would be a big sales-point in this household!

    1. Hey Dave!

      They will to some extent if they’re left to marinate for very long. But they can be served in sauce for sure.

      – Joe

  5. I just saw this recently and tried it last week. I used dijon mustard, Parmesan and fresh herbs to flavor. I fried them up in butter and served them as a side. Ranking right up there with texture of the dumpling was all the crispy scrapings I got from the pan.

  6. These are just AMAZING! Tried a sample batch simply with cheese and didn’t get a chance to do a meat roast to go with it! Kids ate them straight from the oven! First time I come across your site and its my favorite bookmark at the moment!!
    Next try on my list is Opera cake (due to its massive success after the Great British Bake off show!)

    Keep them coming and thanks for posting such detailed and pictured recipes!

    1. They really are an eye-opener, aren’t they, Lila? Glad they turned out so well. Let me know how the opera cake goes!


      – Joe

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