Gougeres are a delightful type of pastry from the Burgundy region of France. Every bite is cheesy, rich, and airy with a hint of crispness. People are sometimes afraid of Pate a Choux, which is the type of dough used in cream puffs/eclairs and is also the base here, for fear that it’s complex or easy to mess up. Actually, this dough is very simple to make- grate the cheese, boil butter, milk, and salt, add flour, stir in the eggs, and then stir in the cheese. We used a combination or Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, but you can use any variety of hard cheeses for this. Unlike us, don’t slightly underbake your gougeres. If they aren’t fully browned all over, they deflate- we learned this the hard way- so bake them carefully. We feel that an addition of chives or rosemary would be delicious here as well, but these pastries are pretty tasty on their own!
Recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
Makes about 20 puffs
1 cup milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus 1/2 cup more for garnishing the tops)
Optional: Add in desired quantity of chopped fresh herbs (1-2 tablespoons would be a suitable amount)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet with butter (or line with parchment paper).
Combined milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the flour all at once. Whisk vigorously for a few moments, then return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the batter has thickened and is pulling away from the sides and bottom of the pan (this should take a minute or two, and no more than five).
Remove from heat and stir in 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing in each egg completely before add another. Then stir in cheese and herbs.
Drop dough by tablespoons onto baking sheet, spacing at least one inch apart. Beat remaining egg in a bowl, and brush the tops of the puffs with the beaten eggs, and sprinkle with additional Parmesan.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, place baking sheet on the center rack, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until gougeres are puffed and well browned. Serve hot. Enjoy!