My sad, funny, little gougeres

by Matt on December 22, 2006


This is why I’m so not a baker.

After spending some time reading one of my favorite sites on earth, I was inspired to get in the kitchen and bake after a long day at work.  I had everything needed to make these savory little bites, but I did not have a romantic, historical connection to these lil French pastries like one of my idols Bea did.  And I was ok with that. In fact, I only recently tried Gougeres for the first time this year, and it was one of those moments where I had to slap myself silly and wonder why our paths didn’t cross sooner. I’ve always loved cream puffs and profiteroles, and everyone knows my love of cheese, so it was a natural.  But for some odd reason, I know of no bakery near me that makes them, so I rolled up my sleeves and got busy.

I found a very simple recipe in Sunset Magazine, that symbol of fine Western living where people are happy, slightly outdoorsy and where everyone lives in beautiful spacious homes. Somehow they skipped over me, but it’s cool Sunset, I’m ain’t hating on ya – I’m far too busy these days anyway.

Hehe, yea right.

The method is simple enough. Take basic choux pastry, add cheese, and voila! Irregular, alien-like blobs are yours in no time! Ok, so I admit they weren’t as pretty as I’ve seen, but anything with cheese is delicious, and as funny as my sad little gougères looked, they tasted just fine. They puffed up, hollow as should be, filling the house with that undeniable smell of cheese. Now I know why they’re enjoyed with champagne and wine. Me, well, I couldn’t make up my mind, so I had both.

Gougères from Sunset Magazine
Preheat over to 425°. Heat 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture comes to a simmer.  Turn heat to low, add 1 cup flour, and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball that pulls away from pan sides, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Add 5 eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each. Dough will separate after each addition, keep stirring until it forms a smooth paste. Stir in 1 cup grated gruyere, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper. Drop mixture in heaping tablespoonfuls onto 2 buttered baking sheets. Bake until puffed and brown, about 30 minutes. Cut slits in sides of puffs, return to oven, and lower heat to 350°. Bake for 10 minutes. Makes about 50.