Gougères (traditional cheese puffs)
Whether you are going to a Michelin star restaurant or at a friend’s house in France, you will most likely be served gougères to accompany your aperitif drinks (drinks served before a meal). Gougères are traditional cheese puffs made with either Emmenthal, Comté or Gruyère cheese. These little luxuries are perfect with champagne or wine (they are often served during wine-tastings) – and so chic if you have them home-made. Originally from Burgundy, these puffs were invented in the 17th century in a patisserie called ‘Le ramequin de Bourgogne’. So next time you have guests, why don’t you dazzle them with these golden puffs.
Ingredients (makes about 40)
250 ml/ 1 cup water
100 g/ 3.5 ounce salted butter
150 g/ 1 1/4 cups plain flour
180 g/ 2 cups grated Emmenthal or Gruyère cheese
A dash of ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk for glazing
A dash of salt and pepper
Pre-heat the over 180° celcius.
In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Add the flour, stirring very fast and take immediately off the heat. By now the batter will be roughly in the form of a soft ball. Add the eggs, one by one and stir. It’s important to add the eggs slowly – don’t worry if it looks too thick, just continue to stir as it will eventually become a smooth batter. Finally add the cheese, salt & pepper and stir to a good dewy batter.
Prepare a baking tray line with parchment paper. You have two choices for preparing the gougères: either put the dough in a pastry bag with a standard tip and pipe walnut sized mounds, or spoon and shape with the help of two teaspoons and evenly shaped ball (again like the size of a walnut). Glaze with the egg yolk for a golden baked finish. Sprinkle the puffs lightly with grated cheese.
Leave an adequate space between each gougères and bake for 25 minutes approx or until puffy and golden. Serve immediately.
ps: You can prepare these in advance and either refrigerate or freeze them. Just take them out again before serving and heat in a high-heat oven for 5-7 minutes.