Gougères - French Cheese Puff Pastries

Gougères - French Cheese Puff Pastries

A wonderful party trick to show your friends - they can come out looking super professional and they smell phenomenal. You can add bits of bacon, slice them in half like teeny sandwiches. Or just pop them in your mouth with a good glass of wine. 

Gougères via DavidLebovitz.com

About thirty bite-sized puffs

This recipe can easily be doubled.

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • big pinch of chile powder, or a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 chives, finely-minced (or 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme)
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces, 90g) grated cheese - gruyere, comte, Parmesan or Pecorino (or anything dry)

1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Heat the water, butter, salt, and chile or pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.

3. Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t ‘cook.’ The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. (You can transfer the mixture to a bowl before adding to eggs to cool the dough, or do this step in a food processor or electric mixer, if you wish.)

5. Add about 3/4s of the grated cheese and the chives, and stir until well-mixed.

6. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.

7. Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, then pop the baking sheet in the oven.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F (190C) and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown.

For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.

Serving: The puffs are best served warm, and if making them in advance, you can simply pipe the gougères on baking sheets and cook right before your guests arrive, or reheat the baked cheese puffs in a low oven for 5-10 minutes before serving. Some folks like to fill them, or split them and sandwich a slice or dry-aged ham in there, although I prefer them just as they are.

A bit of troubleshooting: The most common problem folks have with pâte à choux, or cream puff dough, is deflated puffs. The usual causes are too much liquid (eggs), or underbaking. Make sure to use large eggs, not extra-large or jumbo, and use a dry, aged cheese, if possible. And bake the puffs until they’re completely browned up the sides so they don’t sink when cooling. If yours do deflate, that’s fine. - via DavidLebovitz.com

**I ran into my dough being too liquidy after stirring in the eggs. I even made a second batch to troubleshoot. I tried cooling the dough by an open window in case it was too hot when I added the eggs. But that didn't help. So I added more flour bit by bit until it thickened more. It did thicken, but not as much as I had hoped. I tasted more of the flour in the second batch, and less of the sharp, tangy cheese. It wasn't "bad," just not ideal. 

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"Rollin at 5" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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