Gougères - A Basic Version
The definition says it all—“A puff of choux pastry usually flavored with cheese.”
As this recipe is designed to motivate mastery, there is a slight amount of fussiness. I failed only once when making these and it was because I curdled the eggs. No rushing! Once you feel proficient at making this basic recipe, try some variations that include the elements of butter, flour and cheese. Roquefort, feta and cheddar are great alternatives. Adding herbs or Dijon mustard to amp up the flavor is another option.
Makes about 50 depending on desired size
- ½ cup butter cut into small chunks
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup grated cheese (Gruyère, any other hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino or a combination), plus a bit more for the tops of the gougères.
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Heat butter, salt and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer.
- Turn heat to low, add flour and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball that pulls away from the pan sides, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat to allow the mixture to cool sufficiently the eggs won't curdle, at least 2 minutes.
- Add beaten eggs, one at a time stirring with energy after each addition. This takes muscle and patience, as the dough will feel more like library paste.The dough will separate after each egg addition, but don’t worry-it will reform as you continue to stir.
- Stir in 1 1/2 cup of the cheese and the pepper, reserving the remaining cheese.
- Depending on the size desired, drop the mixture in small or heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper covered baking sheets. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the balls.
- Bake no more than two sheets at a time for about 25 minutes. Switch the trays about 1/2 way through the first bake for even browning. With a small knife, poke each puff in the middle to release built up steam. Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes or so more until crisp and golden brown. These should be a lovely, air filled pastry.
- To make ahead, place the unbaked gougères on a small baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. When frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and store for up to a month. When using, bake an additional 5 minutes.