My Newest Gougères
Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them.
Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments to the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper, and different spices. The recipe is welcoming.
This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip, and a surprise—walnuts.
Makes about 60 gougères
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)
- 2 cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère, and/or sharp cheddar
- 2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
Working Ahead: My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the freezer; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat, and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the egg white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix by hand.
Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (1 1/2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)
Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden, and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.
Storing: The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes.
Excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.