New Year’s Brunch: Tirokeftedes

These cheese puffs are so deliciously light – they are a perfect way to start off your brunch.

Makes about 2 dozen


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pinch mombassa pepper powder

1 cup whole milk

6 large eggs (at room temperature)

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Combine the flour with the salt, black pepper, thyme, and mombassa pepper in a large bowl.

Put the milk and butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When the butter melts, turn heat to low. Add the seasoned flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Remove from heat.

Separate the white and yolk from one egg, reserving the yolk for glazing.

Put the dough into a large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for one minute. Then beat in one egg and the extra egg white. Beat until completely absorbed into the dough. Then add the remaining 4 eggs, one at a time, waiting each time until the previous egg is completely absorbed. After all 5 eggs (plus the one egg white) have been incorporated, the dough should be smooth and satiny.

Add the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses. Incorporate thoroughly into the dough.

Use a pastry bag to pipe dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. You can also drop dough from a teaspoon. Mounds should be about 1/2 inch in diameter. Space puffs about 1 inch apart.

Beat the remaining egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of milk to make a glaze. Lightly brush the tops of the puffs with glaze before baking. Sprinkle tops with your Parmesan cheese.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. Bake 10 minutes more until puffs are golden brown. Test by removing a puff from the oven and breaking it open. The inside should be baked through. If it is still doughy or wet, bake another 5 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and leave puffs on pans until cool enough to serve.