Cheese Puffs (Gougères)
Highly addictive, gougères are light-as-air cheese puffs made with pâté-à-chou, the same type of dough used to make cream puffs. The size of Ping-Pong balls, gougères are quite easy to make and are wonderful served with predinner drinks or a glass of wine.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yield: Approximately 3 dozen
1 cup water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Remove from the heat when the butter melts.
Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl, forming a thick, almost gluelike substance.
Stir in the cheese. Add 4 of the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated into the dough.
Beat the dough with a stiff spoon until shiny and firm. This takes some endurance on your part, but it’s well worth the effort.
Drop well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.
Beat the remaining egg with 1⁄2 tablespoon water. Brush the tops of the cheese puffs with the egg wash.
Bake in the upper third of the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown and doubled in size. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
You can make gougères beforehand, freeze them, and then bake them at a later date. Simply prepare the recipe up to Step 5 and place the baking sheet in the freezer. When frozen, place the cheese puffs in a large plastic freezer bag. Bake the frozen cheese puffs according to Step 6. The baking time will be 5 to 7 minutes longer for frozen puffs.