Gougères Also Known As French Cheese Puffs
Gougères are a thing of beauty. Warm cheesy little choux pastry puffs best eaten straight out of the oven.
Gougères hail from Burgundy in France and are commonly served at apéritif time. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of a wine tasting in that region, you will most definitely have eaten them as gougères are the tapas of choice in Burgundy.
I recommend making these in bulk and then freezing them. Gougères reheat really well straight from the freezer and are handy to have in case of unexpected (or expected visitors). They obviously go particularly well with a glass of Burgundy wine and are a nice alternative to cheese and crackers.
There are a few things to consider when making gougères. You can make them in three shapes/ sizes. You can make them bite size or the size of a small scone. You can also make them in a ring when you’re having a few people over. This the ideal tear and share. We normally make them with gruyère cheese or emmental or even comté but really you can make them with whatever you have got going. I would think in Ireland, something like Coolea or a sharp local Cheddar would be ideal. Or maybe even some parmesan from the best cheese shop in town.
The final thing to think about is the salt content. In France, our go to butter is unsalted and as we add a bit of salt and lots of cheese to the batter, this brings the savouriness and the seasoning up instantly. Although Irish butter is the very best, unfortunately it is highly salted. I recommend using unsalted irish creamery butter for just this once. If you insist on using the classic salted butter, please do not add salt to the batter and be concscious of the saltiness of the cheese you decide to use. Too much salt would make your gougères unpleasant and nobody wants that to happen.
So now, we’re at the recipe (this will make enough for 4 people) and my final recommendation is to eat well and be happy!
- 150 g of plain flour
- 115 g of unsalted butter
- 250 ml of water
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
- 120 g of grated cheese of your choice (i normally go for emmental)
- Preheat the oven to 220 C.
- In a pan, pour the water and add the butter. Bring it to the boil and turn the heat right down.
- Add all the dry ingredients (not the cheese and eggs) and beat energetically until you have a smooth shiny thick batter. It comes away easily from the side of the pot and can make an omogenous ball. This will take no longer than 3 minutes.
- Beat your 4 eggs.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the batter cool for 5 min. The add about 25% of the eggs and beat until smooth. Repeat 2 or 3 thimes until all the eggs are incorporated. Add the grated cheese and mix.
- If you want small bites, use a teaspoon to measure the gougères, if you want the larger ones just use a table spoon instead. Place them on baking paper. Make sure there is enough space between then so that they can expand (they will double to triple in size. If you’re making a ring you will shape that with your hands.
- Place on the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake at high heat for 10 min. Brin the heat down to 170 C and bake for no more than 15 min. Keep an eye out on them so they don’t burn but DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR UNTIL THE END. If you do, they will deflate and although they will be edible they just won’t be the same.
- When they’re done, place them on a cooling rack for 5 min and then devour with a drink of your choice.