Gougères are a must-know recipe. They are quick, yet incredibly elegant, and they are made with ingredients that most of you will have on hand.
Start with the classic choux pastry (the same dough used for ceam puffs and éclairs, y’all). Add grated sharp cheese, nutmeg, and pepper, and watch through the oven window with stars in your eyes as the little pastries puff up and become crispy and golden.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, know that the leftover gougères freeze incredibly well and reheat in just minutes to 99% of their former glory.
Alain Ducasse’s Gougères:
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. milk (preferably whole)
4 oz. butter (1 stick)
large pinch of coarse salt
1 C. AP flour
3 1/2 oz. grated sharp cheese (roughly one loose cup grated cheese). Consider Gruyere, a nice vintage cheddar, aged gouda, or mimolette.
freshly cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, and salt and bring to a low boil. Add the flour and stir it in with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to collect into a mass on the side of the pan, about one minute. Turn off the heat.
Add the eggs into the dough, one at a time, mixing thoroughly with the wooden spoon between each one. With the addition of each egg, the dough will at first separate (curdle, almost), and eventually come back together. Do not add the next egg until the dough comes together again.
Once all the eggs are incorporated, add the cheese, several turns of cracked pepper, and little nutmeg. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (or, like I do, in a gallon-size ziploc bag with the tip cut off) and pipe tablespoon-sized mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. This recipe should make approximately 48 gougères.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until puffed and golden. To check doneness, tear open one of the puffs and check that it is dry and hollow inside. If there is still sticky dough inside, return to the oven for a few minutes longer.
Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat in a 350° oven until piping hot, 5-8 minutes.