Gougeres. How many times have I seen these on a menu, thought “huh, cheese puffs, and I cannot pronounce how to say them, so I’ll just pass…”, and then carried on living.
Well, these cheese puffs are worth the few minutes of mixing, piping (or scooping) onto baking trays, and watching the magic of choux happen.
Tell me more about the magic of gougeres!
Mysterious cheese puffs hailing from Bergundy, partner to wines, burnished gold with cheese. I praise thee! As a Wisconsinite, why aren’t we talking about these delicious cheese puffs more? The origins of these golden puffs are not entirely known – but I am fine with that and happy to carry on their legacy.
You can use whatever kind of cheese you want for the gougeres. I had a slight worry when Denis got home from grocery shopping, and saw that he bought ordinary Swiss cheese (versus the emmentaller or gruyere/comte traditionally used – but we’re on a budget, so….). I pressed on, and made the gougeres anyways, and proved to myself that it would work and be delicious. Life and baking is a journey, folks! Gouda, smoked gouda, parmesan…any would work, with varied (and delicious) results!
I sprinkled the tops with finely grated sharp white Wisconsin cheddar, mostly because I love it, and also because I thought it would be a nice contrast with the sweet-ish propionic acid bite of Swiss. The recipe I followed was Alain Ducasse’s in Food & Wine, but I adjusted the baking temperature and method of making the choux a bit. I followed the method for preparing the choux in The Art of French Pastry, and rest-assured, it is fool-proof. I added a bit of nutmeg and dijon to the choux, but this is optional.
Let your inner cheese fiend run free!
I baked these at 425F for 25 minutes, and they were perfect. The larger the gougeres, the longer you bake. We loved the tablespoon-ish size that I made – the perfect bite (or, many bites!) – they puffed to about double their raw size. We enjoyed some of these with cold Orange Muscat with my cousins – the pairing was a treat – and the frozen puffs transported perfectly in our cooler bag.
Piped raw gougeres can be frozen on their trays, put into freezer containers or bags once firm. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with cheese – straight from the freezer – and bake until golden and firm. And lastly, if you don’t have any piping bag and tips, you can use 2 spoons or a cookie scoop to get mounds of batter onto the sheet trays.
Gourgeres – tasty, simple, efficient . . . perfect!
Great baked from the freezer, simply delicious and perfect for entertaining or when you want a tasty snack with beer or wine for happy hour at home. I’m officially in the camp of ordering, making and/or eating gourgeres when the opportunity presents itself – even if I still struggle with how to say “gougeres”!
Gourgeres (Bergundian Cheese Puffs)
- scale or measuring cups & spoons
- 2 half sheet pans
- parchment paper or silpat (2)
- medium sauce pan
- Rubber Spatula
- whisk (balloon or flat)
- stand mixer with paddle attachment (or large bowl with wooden spoon)
- pastry bag with 1/2" or 3/4" tip (or 2 soup spoons or cookie scoop)
- Pastry Brush
- cheese grater
- cooling racks
- 1/2 cup (125g) milk whole or 2%
- 1/2 cup (125g) water
- 1/2 cup (4oz) butter salted or unsalted
- 1/4 tsp (2g) salt
- Pinch nutmeg freshly grated is best; optional
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard optional
- 1 cup plus 2 TB (140g) all-purpose flour
- 4 to 5 220g large eggs
- 1 cup (3 1/2 oz) grated cheese any Swiss cheese variety, such as comte, gruyere or standard swiss; sharp cheddar; parmesan, etc.
- 4 TB grated cheese for topping (same or different variety)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp water
- Preheat oven to 425F, place 1 rack in the center and the other at the lower third of the oven.
- In a medium saucepan, add milk, water, butter, spices, salt, nutmeg and dijon (if using). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, ensuring butter is melted, stirring with the rubber spatula to prevent scorching.
- Take pan off burner, and add all the flour at once. Quickly whisk the flour into the liquid, taking care to get all the lumps out – this will take about 30 seconds. If you have lumps at this stage, you cannot get rid of them, and will need to start-over.
- Return the mixture to medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly with the rubber spatula to scrape the bottom, for about 1 to 2 minutes to cook the paste. It is done when it starts to stick and hiss.
- Transfer paste to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or to a large bowl and wooden spoon. On medium speed, beat the paste to cool it for about 30 seconds.
- Turn down to low (or stop mixing if by hand) and add 1 egg. Return to medium speed and mix until incorporated. Repeat with 1 more egg. Stop mixer and scrape down paddle and sides.
- Add 2 additional eggs as in the previous step, scraping down the bowl and attachment after the 4th egg. Mix to incorporate everything.
- Now, test the choux: stop the mixer, and take the paddle off the mixer and dip into the choux. If it forms a "V" shape, it is ready. If it breaks short of a "V" shape, add in 1 tsp of milk or egg wash (see recipe below) at a time with the mixer on low. Re-test the "V" after each addition. It is important to not over-add liquid or egg now, since you cannot recover a choux that is too runny.
- Add the cheese and mix briefly to incorporate.
- Fill the pastry bag fitted with the 1/2" or 3/4" tip (or two soup spoons or cookie scoop). Pipe or dollop 1 1/2" rounds of the gougere batter on cookie sheets, giving them 1" of space and staggering the rows. This allows them to expand, and cook/brown evenly on all sides.
- Brush each gougere with egg wash using the pastry brush. If any tails are poking up, from piping, gently press them down with the brush with egg wash. Sprinkle on the additional cheese.*
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through at the 12 to 13 minute mark. The gougeres are done when they are golden brown, puffed to about double their size, and are firm to the touch.
- Cool slightly, then serve. The gougeres are great warm or cool. Re-heat in a 350F oven for a few minutes to re-warm if desired.**
- Crack the egg in a medium bowl, add water, and whisk until homogenous. You do not want albumin (white) strands to stick to the whisk when it is lifted out of the egg wash. Optional: you may strain to get chalaza (white "ropes" of protein that hold the egg yolk in place in the albumin). Use leftover eggwash within 1 day (omelette, scrambled eggs, frittata, etc).