In case you were wondering what was perched on top of yesterday’s soup, I have the answer for you: Gougeres.
I’ve had my eye on making some form of gougeres since New Years, when my incredibly talented uncle Sam brought two delicious versions for a party. They were so-o-o good. And, to be very honest, I think of them often. Which I’m sure must be embarrassing somehow, but I feel no shame.
What is a gougere? A choux pastry made with cheese. In plain English: cheese puffs.
They are incredibly easy to make, whether or not you have any experience in the matter. Sam says the way to prevent choux pastry from falling is by baking them sufficiently. I found this to be true myself and would add that this is REALLY not the time for peeking again and again into the oven. Set your timer and trust it.
You could certainly use other types of cheese, but you’ll want to make sure you use something strong, even if you’re not usually someone who loves strong cheese. Choosing a sharper or aged cheese will really help the cheese flavor come through over the other ingredients in the batter. I think next time it would be FABULOUS to add in some good quality parmesan. We used an aged white cheddar, and sweet Suzie, it was delicious. De-li-cious.
Another bonus of these is that they can be made ahead and frozen. Which is perfect for bringing them to a party stuffed with something delicious (like a little dollop of chicken salad or a spread) or to heat up a few to go with your dinner some night.
Try them. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll feel really fancy.
p.s. today the bakery at my market had pumpkin things out for the first time this year. I swooned!
- 1/2c butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/2c water
- 1 1/2c flour
- 1/4tsp-1/2tsp salt
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2c grated cheese (I used white cheddar, you could use any combination)
- Coarse salt for topping
- In a large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in flour and 1/4tsp salt all at once. Stir well until mixture becomes thick and there are no large lumps.
- Add 1/3 of the eggs at a time, stirring well after each addition until the batter is no longer glossy. Stir in pepper and cheese (it will not likely melt, don’t panic). Taste to see if the batter needs more salt (this will depend on the cheese you used). Add more if necessary.
- Use a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip to pipe into 48 rounds on two baking sheets covered in parchment or sprayed well with nonstick spray. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can absolutely scoop the batter with spoons onto the sheets without a problem.
- Dampen the tip of your finger and tap down the pointed tops of each round. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until well browned and golden.
- To reheat frozen puffs, bake in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.