Gougères are light and delicious cheese puffs made with pâte à choux, the same pastry dough that's used for profiteroles, eclairs, etc. It's a quick and fairly easy dough to make, somewhat fool-proof since it relies on aerating rather than a rising agent like baking powder or yeast.
Typically, gougères are made with Comté or Gruyère cheese, but really any cheese that melts will be fine if you don't specifically want the flavours of Comté or Gruyère cheese. This time, since I was pairing them with a slew of southern Rhône wines, I used a mix of Comté and Füürtüfel - a terrific spicy Swiss cheese.
GOUGÈRES: CHEESE PUFFS
makes: ~20 medium gougères
- Equipment: hand mixer with two beaters
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups grated Comté, Gruyère or other Swiss cheese
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Optional: Fleur de sel to sprinkle on top before baking
- Bring the milk, butter and salt (and cayenne, if using) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix vigorously with a wooden spatula until the mixture forms a ball, taking care to scrape up all the flour/dough from the base and sides of the pan. Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook for about 1 minute to dry the mixture a bit. Stir to make sure the dough doesn't stick to the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and use the hand mixer to mix thoroughly and aerate for 4-5 minutes. Let the choux pastry dough cool for 7-10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F/200 °C. Line 1 large or 2 medium baking trays with parchment paper.
- Add the grated cheese to the dough and stir just enough to incorporate. Use 2 spoons - 1 to scoop the gougère dough and 1 to help drop it on to the baking sheet - to place the dough on the baking tray, spaced ~2 inches apart. Sprinkle a few grains of the coarse salt, if using, on each gougère.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned. Do *not* open the oven while the gougéres are baking or they might: not puff up, deflate after cooling, remain dense!
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature with wine - including champagne - or any other beverage.