Gougères, as we sophisticates call cheese puffs, are “the world’s best canapé”
Chef Thomas Keller nails it for me, however, when he calls gougères “basic and delicious” – because, despite the fancy name, they are indeed pretty basic: a simple choux pastry that can be made weeks in advance, and baked to featherlight perfection straight from the freezer. Perfect for any occasions, whenever you eat them.
Ingredients (makes about 40)
1 cup / 250 ml water
3.5 ounce / 100 g salted butter
1 1/4 cups / 150 g plain flour
2 cups / 180 g grated Emmenthal, Comté or Gruyère cheese
A dash of ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk for glazing
A dash of salt and pepper
Pre-heat the over 360 Fahrenheit (180° celcius)
In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Add the flour, stirring very fast and take immediately off the heat. By now the batter will be roughly in the form of a soft ball. Add the eggs, one by one and stir. It’s important to add the eggs slowly – don’t worry if it looks too thick, just continue to stir as it will eventually become a smooth batter. Finally add the cheese, salt & pepper and stir to a good dewy batter.
Prepare a baking tray line with parchment paper. You have two choices for preparing the gougères: either put the dough in a pastry bag with a standard tip and pipe walnut sized mounds, or spoon and shape with the help of two teaspoons and evenly shaped ball (again like the size of a walnut). Glaze with the egg yolk for a golden baked finish. Sprinkle the puffs lightly with grated cheese.
Leave an adequate space between each gougères and bake for 25 minutes approx or until puffy and golden. Serve immediately.
ps: You can prepare these in advance and either refrigerate or freeze them. Just take them out again before serving and heat in a high-heat oven for 5-7 minutes.