Edible Alphabet is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. The mission is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. While Free Library locations remain closed to the public in the interest of public health and safety, we will be sharing weekly recipes from our class curriculum and past participants.
Every week in Edible Alphabet, participants gather to learn and practice English while cooking a meal together. We learn and practice English vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and listening and, of course, we cook! The class is co-taught by an English Instructor and a Chef Instructor, and one of the most wonderful parts of the program is how cooking together turns our classroom into a collaborative space where we all learn so much from each other. In the final class, students share their own recipes at a class potluck, where we celebrate our learning and share food from around the world cooked by participants.
While I am at home, missing Edible Alphabet and channeling some of my energy into stress baking, I’ve been making a recipe shared by Edible Alphabet participant Emilie at our potluck this past fall: French Gougères (a baked savory pastry). This four-ingredient recipe (plus salt and pepper) can be put together with pantry staples you most likely already have at home and is very simple to execute, with a beautiful final product.
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. flour
- 4 eggs
- 4 oz. grated cheese (gruyere or other hard cheese)
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Butter a baking sheet.
- Add water, butter, and a pinch of salt to a pot. Bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and add flour; stir to combine.
- Stir at low heat until dough forms and begins to pull away from the side of the pan (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each egg is added.
- Add most of the grated cheese and black pepper to taste. If you have any dried or fresh herbs you would like to add (thyme, rosemary, tarragon), include these now.
- Arrange in small balls on the baking sheet* and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Cook until puffed and golden brown (about 25 minutes).
*This can be done with a spoon or pastry bag. I have been using a plastic food storage bag with the corner cut off to form the gougères.
Looking for more ideas to inspire your next baking project? The Free Library has more than 1,000 baking e-cookbooks available for download for free with your library card.
For more information about Edible Alphabet and the Culinary Literacy Center, visit freelibrary.org/cook or email kitchen @ freelibrary.org. Enjoy this recipe? Leave a comment and stay tuned for another Edible Alphabet recipe next week!