– Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
– Mise en place, this is very important.
– Line your baking tray(s) with baking parchment. Alternatively, use a silicone mat.
– On medium heat, heat the butter, salt, pepper and water in a heavy saucepan. Let the butter melt.
– When the water comes to a boil, tip in all the flour and onion powder at once. You do not want the water to keep boiling or the liquid will be lost by evaporation.
– Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a smooth ball.
– Take the pan off the heat, transfer the dough to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
– Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Do not add the eggs when the dough is hot or the eggs may ‘cook’.
– Starting the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time and then increase the speed to 2. The dough will appear lumpy at first, but it will soon become smooth, this may take a couple of minutes. (You will appreciate the stand mixer more, if you have ever tried doing this by hand, it is quite a workout!)
– Add a tablespoon or two of the extra beaten egg if needed. At the right consistency, the dough is supposed to stay on the spatula and then fall in a thick ribbon. I used almost 120 grams of egg.
– Be careful as you add the egg, too much will cause the puffs to deflate (which is still fine, says the author, they will still taste good)
– Remove the bowl and stir in the cheese and thyme.
– Scrape the mixture into the pastry bag. Pipe into small mounds (about a large cherry tomato) spaced about an inch apart. Alternatively, use 2 spoons to drop the mixture.
– Top each puff with a little of the remaining cheese.
– Bake at 220C for 5 minutes.
– Lower the temperature to 190C and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown all over.
– These taste best served warm. If necessary, the baked puffs can be re-warmed in a low oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.