Gougères are another pastry made from the classic French pâte à choux.
These baked savory pastries are made with a generous amount of grated Gruyère, Comté, or Emmentaler cheese folded into the dough before baking.
They are said to have come from Burgundy, particularly the town of Tonnerre in the Yonne department, where they are generally served cold when tasting wine in cellars.
Earlier forms of gougères were more a stew than a pastry, including herbs, bacon, eggs, cheese, spices, and meat mixed with an animal’s blood, and prepared in a sheep’s stomach. In medieval France, gougères we’re a kind of cheese tart or pie. Later, gougères were unknown outside what is now Belgium, and became associated with Palm Sunday.
Gougères can be served as an alternative to dinner rolls, offered as an appetizer, or stuffed with deli meat to make sandwiches.
Gougères are loved by everyone, including children…can be made weeks in advance or an hour before you need them…are transformed easily by using different cheeses, herbs and spices…and are made from everyday items you most likely have on hand at all times.
Drier cheeses— Parmesan, Asiago, or Manchego—make better gougères because there is less moisture to drive out during baking, and they puff just a little bit better in the oven, making for crispier gougères.
1 1/2C grated cheese
1. Preparing to Bake…Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
2. Making the Dough…Place the water, butter, salt, and mustard in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter. Cook until the butter melts.
Remove the pan from heat. Add the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.
Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook 5 minutes to dry out the dough. The dough is ready when it is thick enough to hold a spoon upright and a film of starch forms on the bottom of the pan. If the batter is too loose when you begin incorporating the eggs, the dough will not puff properly come baking time.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Allow the dough to cool for two minutes.
Add the eggs, one a time, fully incorporating each one before adding another. Scrape down the bowl each time and check the consistency of the paste. It should be stiff enough to stand, but soft enough to spread.
Add the cheese.
3. Piping the Gougères…Gougères can be made any size…smaller ones are great as appetizers… larger ones can be used to make sandwiches.
Drop dough onto the baking sheets, using an ice cream scoop, two spoons, or piping bag fitted with a wide round tip.
Be sure to leave an inch of space around all sides of your gougères to keep them from sticking together.
4. Baking the Gougres…Bake 5 minutes.Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake 25 more minutes.
Turn off the heat. Allow the pastry to stand in the closed oven for 15 minutes so the insides can thoroughly dry out. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack. Finished gougères will be deep golden-brown, and will feel light and hollow when picked up.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Gougères may be baked up to three hours in advance and reheated in a 350 degrees oven for five minutes just before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. Re-crisp in a warm oven before serving.