So next time you have friends over and need an appetizer or snack to munch on, make gougères. And make sure they are hot out of the oven when you serve them. That's when they are the puffiest, butteriest, and tastiest.
Note: The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt and the gougères ended up way too salty for me. Since the cheese already has a salty flavor, I'd adjust the salt amount by half next time. Also, add some cayenne pepper! It will make the flavors richer and more intense.
1 cup water
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I suggest using much less)
1 pinch of sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour4 large eggs (up to 5 eggs)
1 1/4 cups grated Gruyère
Freshly ground white pepper
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Add all the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated. (If the ball forms more quickly, continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes.)
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and beat for about 30 seconds at medium speed to cool slightly. Add 4 eggs and continue to mix until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture. Stop the machine and lift up the beater to check the consistency of the batter. The batter in the mixing bowl should form a peak with a tip that falls over. If it is too stiff, beat in the white of the remaining egg. Check again and, if necessary, add the yolk. Finally, mix in 3/4 cup of the Gruyère and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain pastry tip with the gougère batter. Pipe the batter into one-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the gougères as the mixture will spread during the baking. Sprinkle the top of each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until they puff and hold their shape. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. When the gougères are done, they should be a light golden brown color. When you break one open, it should be hollow; the inside should be cooked but still slightly moist. Remove the pans from the oven and serve the gougères while hot.