Ham and Cheese Gougeres for the Sweetshop of Dreams

I've just finished Jenny Colgan's Sweetshop of Dreams, a charming, way sweet, little confection, only edged out of the totally saccharine by her two protagonists and their blessedly sarcastic sense of humor; occasionally just rude.  I've enjoyed a few of Colgan's other novels but this was sort of an exception. The heroine (plot) was pretty clueless.  We all knew where things were headed, both with her boyfriend and the solution at the end.  She was the only one refusing to see things.

Rosie seems to wear "rose colored glasses" as far as her long term "fiance" is concerned, and to my mind at least, she had a narrow escape from that situation, out to the countryside.  She is supposed to be helping her great aunt who has just gone through hip replacement surgery.  An aunt who has a closed up "Sweetshop",  or what we would here in the U.S call a Candy Shop.  And we do have them still, at least in Hawaii, as there is an Eastern predilection for various peculiar candies, added in with some carry-over local favorites. I have added on a picture of our Hilo shop at the end.

From the Publisher: "Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian s sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she  wrong.

 Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. When her great-niece Rosie arrives to help her with the shop, Lillian struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, and wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully colored sweets.

But as Rosie gets Lilian back on her feet, breathes a new life into the candy shop, and gets to know the mysterious and solitary Stephen-whose family seems to own the entire town-she starts to think that settling for what's comfortable might not be so great after all."
To tell you the truth, I dislike most candy, with the exception of some good quality chocolates.  I don't really have a "sweet tooth" per se, preferring salty chips. So the endless enumeration of all extant varieties as well as their history left my mouth in a pucker.  Easily skipped over however, at the start of each chapter, unless you're interested in that sort of thing.

I don't even make desserts very often, unless expecting guests.   My solution to all this sweetness?  Something savory of course.   I saw these ham and cheese puffs in our supermarket flyer and couldn't resist.  And, they're perfect for guests. I used three instead of two types of cheese here: Gruyere, cheddar and Pecorino Romano.

This was the first batch, and they didn't stay puffed up as I'd like, but tasty.  The post is linked over at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking scene, as well as with the April Foodies Read Challenge.  Be sure to join in with what you're cooking, or just to visit for some good food and books.

As a P.S. - here is a shot inside our local "Sweetshop", in Hilo Hawaii.


Carole said...

It's the taste that counts! Cheers from Carole's chatter

Mae Travels said...

Even if you liked candy a lot, reading long lists enumerating types of candy could get old fast! You definitely didn't make me want to read this novel. Now, baking savory cheese puffs from a type of choux pastry -- that could get my interest. Must be delicious.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Deb in Hawaii said...

I must be a candy fan as I kind of liked reading the descriptions of them. ;-) This wasn't my favorite of Colgan's books either for many of the reasons mentioned but a still a good little breezy read. Your gougeres look scrumptious!

Beth F said...

Those gougeres look fabulous ... and I like that I can see the beer pairing in the recipe! I usually like Colgan for a quick fun read, but after reading your thoughts, and Deb's, I won't go rushing out to read this one. I think we still have a local chocolate shop, but I'm not sure about a general candy store.

jama said...

Yum to the ham and cheese puffs! I like that this book is set in England . . . :)

Tina said...

I wish I didn't have a sweet tooth, honestly I would have it pulled :-) That being said, I don't overindulge with sweets because I feel awful if too many make it into the week's snacks.
Your savory puffs are right up my alley, they look delicious.

heather said...

I wish i didn't have a sweet tooth, but I love them!

Wendy Klik said...

Oh...to not have a sweet tooth...or a carb addiction LOL.