20 September 2012

Gougeres - French Cheese Puffs


Cocktail party foods, as I said last week, aren't really my thing. But this one is my favorite. Gougeres (pronounced goo-ZHAIR) are these gorgeous little savory French puffs that never fail to impress. Everyone thinks they're difficult, but they're not. So you can come off like some sort of culinary genius with comparatively little effort or skill! 

Actually, it is gougères, but I usually leave the diacritical marks out of my posts for simplicity sake. The recipe is just a variation on the pâte à choux (cream puff dough) I've always used for cream puffs, eclairs and profiteroles. So, naturally, while stirring these up my craving for all of those was stirred up! It's a safe bet you'll be seeing them here very soon!

Gougeres, like their sweet cousins, are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious with a glass of Champagne or other wine, it's a perfect addition to your HD (hors d'oeuvre) tray. Gruyere is the classic cheese, but a good Cheddar works equally well. For a touch of green, stir in a teaspoon of finely minced flat-leaf parsley. 

What's your favorite libation and accompanying nibbles?

Gougeres

(Makes about 15)

1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
1/2 packed cup (2.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 packed cup (2 ounces) finely shredded Gruyère or Cheddar
2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon finely minced flat-leaf parsley, optional

1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line large baking sheet (I use a heavy-duty half-sheet pan) with parchment paper. Measure out all ingredients. In 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, salt and spices; bring to a boil.

2 Remove from the heat. Add the flour all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a smooth dough. Return to medium heat, and stir until it dries out a bit and pulls away from the pan, leaving a film on the bottom of the pan, at least 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 3 minutes.

3 Very vigorously beat the eggs into the dough one at a time, beating thoroughly after each until fully incorporated. Beat in the cheeses and the optional parsley or other green stuff, if using.

4 Pipe, scoop* or spoon small mounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees; continue baking for 20 minutes, perhaps 25. The puffs should be well browned and very crisp.

* Using a scoop is the easiest, neatest method of forming the puffs. No messy pastry bag to clean up afterward. If you don't have a #60 scoop, get one now! Not just for gougeres, but for profiteroles, small cookies and who knows what all. The other scoop size I use a lot is the larger #40 scoop.

Note: If you missed last week's post, go there now for more Cocktail Party Foods.

15 comments:

Richard Sheppard said...

Gosh these look good Jean! And I bet you're right about them going well with sparkling wine. I can't help think they'd go well with the Boeuf Bourguignon you made last weekend too!

Jean said...

Thanks, Richard! I like them with Pinot Noir, too.

Cynthia A. said...

Do I need to wait until cocktail hour? They look fabulous!

Jean said...

No. But if you make them too far ahead (to be reheated/re-crisped just before serving), be sure you don't polish them all off by the time cocktail hour comes around! (Don't ask how I know that. :D )

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

This is as close to what I call a “texture food” as I can think of. The crisp and the chewy. I’m a big fan of contrast. Sweet-and-sour, nuts and ice cream, the triple effect in a bite of cherry-liqueur-chocolate, stroganoff and sweet pickles, coffee-flavored caramels and hard butterscotch at the same time -- it’s like ginger as a palate chaser for sushi. As in writing, contrast is how you achieve impact whether subtle and nuanced or profound. As you know, you and I migrate toward opposite poles when it comes to what may generally be called breads or derivatives, but I’d give your Gougeres an audition (as long as they don’t make me speak French).

Jean said...

Yes, we are poles apart on the bread question - I'd be better off a bit closer to yours - I'm a breadaholic! Glad to have hit on one breadlike thing you'd be willing to try!

Jenn said...

My goodness.. I could eat my weight in Gougeres! And these look absolutely perfect!!

Jean said...

Thanks, Jenn! In your case, that's not all that many gougeres - you look mighty thin for a food blogger! :D

Angie's Recipes said...

I have always wanted to make this cheesy puff!
These look perfect!

Jean said...

Thanks, Angie! I hope you'll try them soon.

Charles said...

Ah, now I know what you meant when you mentioned "going French". Love gougeres - so nice and cheesy... dangerous though! It's like eating air so you end up potentially eating vast quantities of them without realising, haha :)

Jean said...

I knoooow! I ate way too many of these little cuties - I don't even want to speculate about calories and fat grams!

French Cheese said...

two things are my weakness, bread and french cheeese. I could eat and eat and eat and never slow down. They are just so delicious. I am so excited to try this out because it combines the best of both worlds for me.

a_boleyn said...

I love that once you've learned how to make pate choux, you can make different things with it ... not just cream puffs.

Like churros.

http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/103229.html

prettier picture here
http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/103492.html

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Yes, it's a very versatile dough. And far easier than people think.

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