This recipe is long overdo. I started making these around the holidays. I was fortunate to attend 2 and host 1 friendsgiving this last year. I prepared these for all three and have not stopped making them since! Gougères are a cheese pastry made from pâte à choux, the same dough used for cream puffs or éclairs. You can and should master this gougère recipe and then you will easily make éclairs and cream puffs. There are no rare or complicated ingredients here, just French technique. Almost any cheese will work for these, gruyère is traditional, sharp white cheddar is also wonderful. I always make a huge batch of these and freeze half of them for another day. They go from the freezer to the oven and you have an impressive appetizer for any gathering. You can make these gougères more perfectly shaped by piping them with a pastry bag, I just use a cookie scoop.
The best way to start any dinner or party is with sparkling wine, and this decadent pastry appetizer warrants a glass of champagne. I was recently apart of a beer dinner hosted by New Belgium and got to try some of their new beers. I am now obsessed with their American pale wheat ale, Snapshot. I am so glad it is permanent and not a seasonal beer. It is packed with flavor and has a crisp tart finish. I have not found a beer I liked this much in forever. It has a balanced sour taste with wonderful notes of lemon and citrus. So perfect for hot weather!
1 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated cheese, gruyère or cheddar
In a 4 quart saucepan, mix together the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from heat and add the flour. Stir until the mixture comes together. It will look like mashed potatoes.
Place the pan back on the burner over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes. The dough will be glistening and stiff enough to hold a spoon upright.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium low speed for one minute or until the dough is just warm and no longer steaming. With the mixer running, add the egg in 4 additions. Waiting between each addition for the egg to be absorbed. The dough should be very smooth and creamy. Beat in the cheese.
Heat the oven to 450°. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop (or a spoon if you do not have one) scoop tablespoons of dough onto prepared sheet pans.
Bake for 5 minutes at 450° and then turn the heat down to 350°. Bake for another 20 minutes, rotating halfway through the time. When they are done they will be puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe in Bouchon Bakery also seen here.