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Jan K. Overweel

Cacio e Pepe Puffs

Prep: 60 min
60 Servings

Mastering the preparation does take a little practice but don’t let it deter you! These puffs freeze extremely well and can be whipped out at a moment’s notice. Forgoing the traditional gruyere cheese for a more hip Romano and freshly cracked black pepper will certainly up your antipasto game.


  • 2 cup Water
  • 1 cup Butter, Cubed, Room Temperature
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Sugar
  • 1 cup AP Flour, Sifted
  • 3 Large Eggs, Pre Cracked in a Measuring Cup
  • 1 cup EMMA Pecorino Romano, Finely Grated
  • 3 tbsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • q.b. Eggwash


  1. Preheat a convection oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the water, butter salt, and sugar and bring the contents to a simmer, ensuring the butter is completely melted. Don’t let it simmer longer than 30 seconds, the water will evaporate and throw off the ingredients ratio.Puffs Step 1
  3. Take the pot off the heat. Add the flour to the liquid to form a dough and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, allowing it to dry. Put the pot back on medium heat and keep mixing. The dough is dry enough when it easily comes away from the sides of the pot. Take care not to over mix, the butter shouldn’t separate from the dough.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a clean mixing bowl.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, mix in one egg, let it disappear into the dough before you add the next one, and so on.Puffs Step 3
  6. Incorporate the grated Romano and the black pepper to the dough.
  7. Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or resealable plastic sandwich bag) and pipe 1 inch balls over two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Leave 1-2 inches of space between them. Brush the tops of the puffs with eggwash.Puffs Step 5
  8. Bake until the puffs have expanded and are golden brown. About 15-20 minutes, keep an eye on them.
  9. Lower the oven temperature to 200 and allow the puffs to dry out on the inside, about 30 minutes.
  10. When there’s little to no moisture left inside the puffs, they’re ready to be enjoyed as they are or filled with the savoury filling of your choice: mortadella mousse, whipped goat cheese, foie gras, etc.
by Emma Pelliccione

Since I was a kid, I loved spending time in banquet hall kitchens; I was mesmerized by the churning of giant vats of sugo, bubbling away, poised to feed thousands at a time. I constantly strived to absorb as much food knowledge as possible. After spending time in exploring European and Asian cuisine I moved to New York City to study at the International Culinary Center. I gravitated towards the Farm to Table program where I took my education to the field – literally – cultivating the ties between agriculture, cuisine, and sustainability, and working with the chefs from the 2 Michelin starred restaurant on the property. It was an experience that shaped my entire philosophy as a cook. I’ve continued to feed my culinary curiosity by working in food styling, as a boutique caterer and as a pastry chef.
I’ve been blessed to spend my lifetime learning about food, and nothing makes me happier than sharing my experiences, knowledge, and meals with as many people as I can. I’ll never be done learning, nor will my appetite ever be satisfied. Am I a chef? Nope. I'm just Emma.