Served warm, these French cousins of the cheddar biscuit will be gone within minutes
In case the name is unfamiliar, “gougères” are cheese puffs, essentially choux pastry (the same base used for eclairs and profiteroles) infused with Gruyère cheese. With no rising agents, volume is achieved through steam produced by the high moisture content.
Many recipes specifically command you to stir the dough with a wooden spoon. I asked celebrated baker Simon Blackwell (Blackbird Baking Co.), who told me the wooden spoon is unnecessary, and that professionals make choux pastry in a mixer.
While gougères are traditionally piped, the finished shape is expected to be a rough sphere, so the technique doesn’t require the finesse of piping rosettes. If you don’t own a piping bag (or, like me, your kitchen is mostly packed in preparation for a move), a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in one corner will do.
Served warm, these French cousins of the cheddar biscuit will be gone within minutes.
By Corey Mintz
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups flour
- 8 eggs
- 4 tsp mustard, such as Dijon or any non-grainy mustard
- 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
- 2 additional egg yolks, whisked (for brushing)
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the butter, milk, water and salt to a boil. Lower the heat and add the flour. Stir with a spoon until the dough solidifies and pulls away from the pot’s surface. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
While dough is still warm but not hot, add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding another. The dough will seem too wet until each egg is incorporated, at which point it will look silky. Mix in the mustard, pepper and most of the cheese (hold back ¼ cup).
Transfer the dough to a piping bag or a Ziploc. Pipe out blobs about 2 tablespoons in size onto the parchment-lined tray (though I often find it even easier just scooping balls with spoons). Brush each gougère with the egg yolks and sprinkle a few strands of the reserved Gruyère on top.
Bake until the gougères have puffed up and browned, about 35 minutes. (You may find the gougères still a little soft in the middle if you eat them straight out of the oven. They will have finished that last 5% of cooking by the time they've cooled down.)
Remove from the oven and cool. These can be made hours in advance of a party. To serve, reheat at 300F degrees for 10 minutes.
Yield: Makes 32 gougères or enough for about 20-30 guests
Corey Mintz is a food columnist for the Globe and Mail and TVO. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @coreymintz.