Pancetta, Thyme, and Fontina Gougères

If ever there was a time to celebrate the bright lights of fame and Hollywood, it would be now, during the awards season that kicks off each January and culminates with the Oscars. This year I’ve been working with Moët & Chandon to help Hollywood celebrate the awards season with some entertaining recipes and ideas. In that spirit, I’ve developed some finger foods and cocktails to help celebrate the 2012 Academy Awards home so you can host your own Oscars Viewing Party.

Over the course of this week, I’ll be sharing some drinks and dishes inspired by this year’s Best Picture Nominees, from The Artist to The Descendants, so you can celebrate deliciously. They’re a collection of classic recipes with a contemporary twists with each elegant enough for champagne but still very finger food-friendly so you won’t miss a beat of the awards show.

To give you a peek of what’s to come, here’s a look at what I’ll be sharing:

Aida Mollenkamp Pancetta Thyme and Fontina Gougeres Recipe

Pancetta, Thyme, and Fontina Gougères Recipes

  • Makes: About 30 cheese puffs
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 15 minutes


  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk or water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped (optional)


Heat oven to 375°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower third. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.

Place pancetta in a medium nonstick frying pan and cook until crisp. Remove pancetta to paper towel-lined plate and set aside to drain.

Meanwhile, combine 1 cup of the milk or water with the butter and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, dump in all the flour, and stir vigorously until flour is incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until dough comes together in a ball and feels dry to the touch, about 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a food processor fitted with a blade or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Pulse or beat in five of the eggs, one by one, letting each egg completely incorporate before adding the next. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese then add pancetta, remaining cheese, and thyme; pulse or mix on low until thoroughly incorporated.

Drop tablespoon-size portions of dough on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Whisk remaining egg yolk with the remaining 1 tablespoon milk and brush tops of cheese puffs then evenly sprinkle reserved Parmesan cheese over top.

Place in oven and bake, rotating halfway through, until puffed and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature.)

Notes: Freeze the pancetta for 5 to 10 minutes to facilitate dicing. If you can’t find pancetta, use Canadian bacon or cooked ham instead (don’t crisp in the pan though).

This recipe is part of a week of recipes for hosting your own Oscars Viewing Party.

Appetizers // Starters Entertaining Recipes Snacks