A gougère is something that I have been fascinated with for a while. These delightful little cheese puffs are light as air and terribly delicious! Perfectly hollow in the centre and flavoured with a hard cheese like Gruyére, Emmantaler or Comté. You can also play around with other drier cheeses and fresh herbs. My favourite is one with gruyère. This was a cheese I tasted the first time in Switzerland. I was a little girl of 9 years, with a not so refined palate and I hated it! As I grew up of course, I’ve been more adventurous and learnt to really appreciate it and now its a standing joke at home. Gougères are made with a classic pâte à choux ( choux pastry) , which was invented by the head chef of Catharine de Medici when he moved to France. Choux is done by twice cooking the dough, first on the stove top and then in the oven. This helps to make them hollow. Gougères, a savoury version of the choux pastry, has its roots in Burgundy, where it is served cold during wine tastings, classically paired with some Pinot Noir. It also pairs well with Champagne. In Restaurants there, it is also served piping hot, as an amuse bouche. It its usually eaten hollow, but could also be filled with a savoury cheese filling, or a chicken mousse etc. They’re the perfect little canepés for when we want to be more refined and throw on a fancy little soire.
These feathery little pillows should have a light, airy texture. Crisp outside and hollow, soft and tender on the inside. I made mine with some dijon mustard, gruyère, thyme and chives. These flavours flirt with each other and create a glorious combination together. You’ll want more and more and more and they’ll be over before you’ve started!
Milk – 135g
Unsalted butter- 110g
All purpose flour – 120g
Eggs- 4 large (room temp)
Egg white- 1 large (room temp)
Dijon mustard- 2 tsp
Gruyère cheese- 100g grated
Thyme- a handful (chopped)
Chives – a handful (chopped)
Preheat the oven at 200 C (392 F).
In a pan, bring the butter, milk and salt to a boil. Add in all the flour, lower the heat and stir with a wooden spoon vigorously. Keep stirring till the dough forms a light film at the bottom of the pan and forms a ball on its own. Stir for a couple minutes to dry out the dough. It will help make the choux puffier.
Put the dough into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Let it cool ever so slightly and then on medium speed, add in the eggs one by one. Lastly add in the egg white. Let each egg be incorporated fully before adding in the next. It might start to look slightly liquid but keep mixing, it’ll come together nicely. Add in the dijon mustard, herbs and cheese. Let it be fully incorporated.
Fill the mixture into a piping bag. Line a tray with a silpane or a baking sheet. Pipe the mixture into tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheet. Leave a gap between each as they rise and puff. Place the trays in the oven immediately and turn down the oven to 190 C (375 F). watch the magic as they rise and puff up. Bake for 15 mins till they’re golden brown. Take them out and pop them straight into your tummy!