30 by 30: Gougères

May 16, 2011 · 13 comments

in appetizers,breads and muffins,french

I added pâte à choux to my 30×30 list because I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it—gougéres or profiteroles (filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, of course).  I ended on gougéres since I already had too many desserts on my list (and still have a few more to make, without much time left).  Of course, I don’t exactly need my arm twisted to make French cheese puffs, either.

Gougéres are puffy, pillowy cheese bites that taste wonderful but are so easy to make.  The dough looks a little scary a couple times in the process, where you think something has gone horribly wrong, but rest assured, it’s all part of the process of making pâte à choux.  When you first add the flour to the melted butter mixture it will almost instantly form a big clump of dough, which is very different than how you’d normally add flour to a batter or a dough. This is exactly what you want to happen, though.  Later, when you add the eggs, it will look like you royally screwed something up again, because it will get all lumpy, but it’s fine! After a minute or two of stirring, you are back to something that looks totally normal, and can be piped or spooned onto a baking sheet.

I used gruyere for these because I love it, and I think every time I’ve had gougéres, they have been made with gruyere.  No reason to mess with a good thing, right? These are really delicious and way too addictive. Since they’re so easy to make and can be made a bit ahead of time (I haven’t tried that, but I’m taking David’s word for it), they’re a perfect appetizer. Or, you know, the perfect dinner when you’re home alone and want to eat like 30 cheese puffs without any judgment.

Gougéres

Makes about 28-30 bite sized puffs
Adapted from David Lebovitz

1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp. salt
a few turns of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup AP flour
2 large eggs
1-2 tsp. freshly minced thyme
3/4 cup (about 3 oz.) grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat the water, butter, salt and pepper in a saucepan just until the butter is melted.

Dump in all the flour at once, stirring vigorously, until the mixture pulls away from the sides and forms a smooth ball.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly so the eggs don’t cook.  At first, the batter will seem lumpy, but it will smooth out after a minute or so.

Add all but about 2 Tbsp. of the cheese and the thyme into the dough, stirring until well mixed.

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.  Pipe the dough into mounds onto the baking sheet, about the size of a cherry tomato.  Top each mound with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 375°F.  Continue baking for about 20 more minutes, until the puffs are 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.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

katie May 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

These look so delicious. Is there any other cheese that would work in them?

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elly May 16, 2011 at 9:48 am

Katie, David mentions a couple in his original post, including Parmesan which would be great. I really love Romano cheese and know that would work really well in these, too.

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Kelsey May 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

Great work, Elly. These look divine!

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Anne May 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

These look great! The combination of thyme and gruyere sounds fantastic :)

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Claudie May 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Nicely done! They look so tasty and pretty, I’d love to grab a couple immediately :)

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Pam May 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

These look absolutely wonderful. I am not a great fan of gruyere, so the parmesan or romano suggestions sound like a great idea to me. Thanks for the recipe.

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Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul May 17, 2011 at 2:15 am

LOL at your last statement about eating these alone (I’m sure I could do that too!) they look perfect Elly!

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Joanne May 17, 2011 at 5:39 am

What cute little puffs of air and dough and butter and cheese! They turned out perfectly! Pate a choux has always kind of scared me a little…and one day I will attempt to make it. One day.

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bellini May 17, 2011 at 6:14 am

I remember making this classic in Home Economics in highschool. Just packed with flavour in every little bite!

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Caitlin May 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Those look great! Gougères have been on my list of things to try for sooo long. Thanks for the reminder – maybe I’ll actually get my butt in gear and make them!

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Angela@spinachtiger May 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I would be so proud if I had made these wonderful bites.

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All Seasons Cuisine July 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Elly – any suggestions on how you might make these ahead for a large party?

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elly July 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I haven’t tried it myself, but David Lebovitz says you can pipe the gougeres onto the pans and then just bake before guests arrive, or you can make them as usual and then reheat in a low oven for 5-10 minutes. Good luck!

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