We are big on food traditions in the Harris family. Everyone has their favourite holiday treats, and one of mine is this recipe for Cheese Puffs! I can't remember a time without them as part of our Christmas Eve table. They would always be served alongside a slice of Mom's homemade Tourtière, sweet and sour meatballs, veggies and dip, a cheese plate, and trays of homemade sweets for later (while we watch White Christmas). In more recent years, the cheese puffs have made an appearance more often than just once a year - simply because they are THAT good. This recipe calls for a blend of cheeses - cream cheese, Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Gruyère. While I don't recommend adjusting the amount of cream cheese, you can substitute the other cheeses for any good melting cheese you have on hand - making this a great recipe for using up the leftover bits of cheese you may have hanging around. What's great about this recipe is that you can freeze them and bake a few at a time when the craving hits. This recipe can also be made in half and works out perfectly.
Makes 4-5 dozen
1 loaf of unsliced crusty white bread
8 tbsp of butter
1/4 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated aged white cheddar
1/4 c. grated gruyère
13 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt and fresh black pepper
2 egg whites
Cube the loaf of bread into 1-inch cubes. Combine the butter and cheeses and stir over low heat until blended - this should warm slowly. You just need to gently melt the cheeses together - don't let them bubble! Keep stirring and it will come together. Add the dry mustard, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until they are stiff.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture while it is still warm. Be careful not to let the eggs cook - fold them in gently but quickly. Dredge the cubed bread into the cheese mixture using two forks and drop them, not touching, onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Freeze until firm, or cook immediately. Bake at 400°F for 8-9 minutes depending on your oven. When they're ready they should be lightly browned on the bottoms and tops. Serve warm!
P.S....my Mom just sent me this picture from their kitchen - looks like I'm not the only one who counts this recipe as a "must have" holiday treat!! Enjoy ;)