Back in April we went to Dijon and given these little puffy, airy, cheesy bites of pastry called gougères as an amuse bouche. They were warm and had hints of sharp cheese while melting in your mouth. We were given only 4 and I left the dinner wanting more gougères. Naturally when we got home I did an internet search.
Gougères are quintessentially French and are made with the same kind of dough as an eclair (a choux paste). They are very common at wine tastings or cocktail parties because of the hints of Swiss cheese flavor that run through them. They are also perfect for cocktail or holiday parties because they are ideally bite-sized and they make between 50-60 depending on how large you make them.
I found a few recipes for gougères on the Internet and settled on Alain Ducasse’s recipe that was published in Food & Wine magazine.
- 1/2c water
- 1/2c milk
- 4oz butter, cut into pieces
- pinch of salt
- 1 c flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 c (3.5 ounces) Gruyere cheese, grated
- pinch of pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Add the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms; stir over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes.
Scrape the dough into a bowl; let cool for 1 minute. Beat the eggs into the dough, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between each one. (At this point, this is the same as for any choux dough – including eclairs. If you can do this you can make an eclair.) Add the cheese and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe tablespoon-sized mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Or, if you are like me, you can take two spoons and dish up tablespoon-sized mounds that way. Keep them 2-inches apart because they will almost double in size. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
Awesomely, they are something you can make a day or two ahead and then reheat until warm in a 350F oven until they are hot again. Store them in an air-tight container. They even freeze beautifully.