Gougères: Puffed and Refreshed

Gougeres

If you need a last-minute holiday hors d’oeuvre, this is it! I have made gougères many times before, but my standard recipe has proven less reliable than I would like this time around (think smoke alarms and wasted cheese). Because I love gougères so much and make them so frequently, an inconsistent recipe is completely unacceptable. This improved version of the recipe does a better job of conforming to “pastry” standards, and it produces extra puffy and consistently reliable snacks. These gougères are also perfect for making ahead. I made them over the weekend for a mid-week Global Supper Club: French edition! If you need a cheese fix, you’ve come to the right place.

Gougeres

This recipe makes about 50 gougères, but you can easily halve it if you’d like less. To start, preheat your oven to 400º F. Add 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of water to a pot. Bring the water to a boil and let the butter melt. Once the butter has melted, whisk in 7 ounces of flour (yes, weighing is important for consistent results!). The mixture should form a very smooth ball pretty quickly, but continue using a spoon to stir the mixture around in the pot to dry it out until it gets a little craggily and rough looking.

Gougeres

Ideally, transfer the dough ball into the bowl of a stand mixer, but you could also finish the recipe off by hand if you don’t mind arm fatigue. To the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 egg. Mix everything together until the egg is completely incorporated. When you first start mixing the egg, it will coat the dough and seem like a mucousy mess. But as you continue stirring, the egg will get worked in and the dough will come back together. Once the egg is incorporated, proceed to mix in 5 more eggs, one at a time, until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. In total, you will have mixed 6 eggs into the dough. At that point, the dough should be softer and more batter like.

Gougeres

Grate 2 cups of gruyère cheese by hand (not using a food processor’s grating attachment), and mix that into the batter.

Gougeres

Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. If you use parchment paper, you might want to glue the corners down with a little of the batter so it doesn’t blow away in a convection oven. The gougères are very light! If you use the batter as glue, however, ignore any burning smells that might waft around. Use a spoon to scoop 1 tablespoon sized lumps of the gougère batter onto the pan, leaving about 2 inches of space between each one. The batter is very sticky, so you could also use a pastry bag to pipe out the gougères. If you’d like, you can lightly egg wash the tops of the gougères to give them some extra shine (I did).

Gougeres

Bake the gougères for 10-15 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown. You can test that they are fully cooked by tapping on the bottom of one; it should sound hollow. These gougères are best eaten warm. If you make them ahead or make more than you need, flash freeze them and then reheat them at 375º F for a few minutes until they are toasty warm again. And if you’re wondering about the Global Supper Club: French edition, we had another feast filled with squash soup with sage, boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet with sausage, a puff pastry pie filled with truffled mushrooms, salad, bûche de Noël, red wine poached pears with lemon cake, lots of cheese, and lots of wine. It was a feast to remember!

Shopping list:

  • Butter- 1 stick
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Flour- 7 ounces
  • Gruyère cheese- 2 cups, grated
  • Cayenne pepper- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt- 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs- 6 (or 7 if making an egg wash)
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