Working with pàte à choux is almost magical. You combine milk, water, butter and flour, add eggs, and voilà, you have dough for sweet cream puffs or profiteroles. Then you add cheese and it becomes gougères. You could use Gruyère, Comté, Emmenthal or extra sharp cheddar. They are a welcoming treat and are especially good with champagne.
My favorite way to serve gougères is adding cheese to the mixture. You simply grate any hard or semi-hard cheese into your batter then spoon the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets.
Although you must spoon out the puffs as soon as the dough is made, the little puffs can be frozen and then baked straight from the freezer. This puts them in the realm of the doable even on the spur of the moment.
Once frozen scoop them into freezer bags and store until needed. No thawing necessary. Simply follow the baking instructions and add a couple of minutes to the baking time. Then tumble these delectable morsels onto a gorgeous serving plate and watch them disappear.
You can bake the classic gougères and fill the delicate little darlings with a flavourful filling. Think wild mushrooms in a creamy sauce. Or finely chopped shrimp spiked with wasbi. The choice is limitless. Filled gougères freeze beautifully – simply reheat in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes.
The best way to store gougères is to shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and when they’re solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer – no need to defrost – just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept at room temperature overnight and reheated in a 350°F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving. Now let’s open that bottle of wine, put Diane Krall on the CD player, and enjoy an evening in front of the fire.
|CHEESE GOUGERES ...|| |
- ½ cup whole milk ½ cup water
- ½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ cups coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar (about 6 ounces). The measurement most accurate here is by weight. You want a fair amount of cheese and you'll find the cup measurement of grated cheese considerably less.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. with racks in the middle and upper third
- Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. This recipe makes a lot of these little darlings. If you can't get them all on the two sheets, put the third sheet of gougères in the freezer.
- Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat.
- Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. I prefer the feel of a wooden spoon. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan.
- Keep stirring - with vigor - for another minute or two to dry the dough and cook the flour. The dough should now be silky smooth.
- Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs, one egg at a time, and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don't be concerned if the dough separates - by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again.
- Beat in the grated cheese.
- Once the dough is made , it should be spooned out immediately. Using a teaspoon, scoop up about ½ teaspoon of the choux dough and put it off the teaspoon and onto the baking sheets with your index finger.
- Continue filling the pan with the choux, placing them about 1 inch apart, and then fill the second pan making about 60 servings.
- I prefer to use a tablespoon for a generous sized choux that makes about 30.
- Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds.
- Slide the baking sheets into the oven and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 12 - 15 minutes and continue baking until the gougeres are puffy, brown and dry to the touch.
- Cool in the oven with the door open for 10 to 15 minutes. (if the choux come out of the oven too fast, the humidity can make them soften). Using the tip of a very sharp knife or a skew poke a tiny hole in the side of the gougere to help keep the inside of the puffs dry.
- Serve immediately .
- Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.
The best way to store gougères is to shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and when they're solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer - no need to defrost - just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept at room temperature overnight and reheated in a 350°F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving. Now let's open that bottle of wine, put Diane Krall on the CD player, and enjoy your Friday evening in front of the fire.
GOUGERES ... dough that makes cream puffs or profiteroles it all depends on you.