Friday, 1 October 2010

GOUGÈRES? When you need cheese puffs to accompany Champagne, try Gougères

I told myself to have one gougère in order to celebrate. Celebrate what? Everything! Excuse me, it's time for gougère number two. Delicious! Try these with Champagne!!! 

Gougères are savoury cheese puffs made from choux dough. They are associated with the Burgundy region of France and are served cold for wine tasting, piping hot if they're to be appetizers. Gougères are made by heating milk or water and milk and then melting butter into the mixture. While the ingredients are still hot, flour is added and stirred to blend. The tricky part comes next: the mixture is moved over to an electric beater and eggs are added to it one at a time. Then the cheese is added. 

I used gruyere cheese and added some Pecorino Romano for extra zing. It's important to beat the mixture very well in order to introduce air into it. The air (which will help to make steam), is the reason the puffs will rise while baking. Therefore, without vigorous beating, the cheese puffs will remain flat.

The gougères are placed on trays lined with parchment and baked for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough is to be dropped with a spoon onto the parchment and formed into small, perfect mounds. Forming these little mounds required more dexterity than I possess, so some of my puffs came out misshaped. Other than that they were great. These little guys can be stored unbaked in the freezer and taken out to be baked as needed. They make great appetizers.

This recipe makes about forty cheese puffs. 


1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese 
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

beat together the following:
1 egg
one tablespoon milk
a few shakes of black pepper

Gently brush on the gougères prior to baking.

  • preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt and pepper to a rapid boil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to low and quickly start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. With all your vim and vigour keep stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes. Your objective is to make a drier dough. It should come out very smooth.
  • Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Don't be concerned if the dough falls apart - by the time most of the eggs are added, the dough will start to come together. Beat in the grated cheeses and the thyme. Once the dough is ready, it should be used immediately.
  • Use about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère: drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each piece of dough.
  • Gently and quickly brush with the egg wash.
  • Slide the baking sheets into the oven, bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the sheets. Continue baking until the puffs are golden and firm, another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the gougère piping hot as soon as they come from the oven.
Storing: You can shape the gougères and freeze them for up to 2 months before you bake them. There's no need to defrost the frozen puffs, just bake them a couple of minutes more.