When the temperature outside drops and night comes in the late afternoon I find myself needing a little pick-me-up between lunch & dinner. Specifically a flaky, crispy, cheesy pick-me-up. This recipe for gougeres is made using a classic choux paste (something I’ve been wanting to try) and is actually much easier than it looks. Even better? This pastry pairs well with red wine.
I’m always nervous when I make flaky things because they always seem tempermental but the gougeres puffed up effortlessly. You can make this recipe with any combination of cheese & herbs but I just happened to have sharp cheddar in the fridge and thyme growing on my deck.
The most frightening part of cooking gougeres is making the choux paste – a combination of milk, butter, flour & eggs. The height of the pastry is caused by steam released from the moist mixture as it cooks. When you have finished adding the eggs you should be left with a smooth, shiny mixture.
Instead of making small, bite sized gougeres I tried to make a larger version which I do not recommend! While they popped out of the oven all light & fluffy they quickly deflated. Although they still taste amazing I am definitely going to try to make smaller gougeres next time as my boyfriend/chef tells me that the smaller they are the more likely they will keep their shape.
I got this recipe from my first (& favourite) cookbook, Tartine. If you have any interest in French baking I highly recommend it. The recipes are labor intentsive, which is exactly the way French baking should be. It just makes the indulgence that much more enjoyable.
thyme & sharp cheddar gougeres recipes from Tartine
- ingredients –
for the choux paste
1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
10 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
5 large eggs
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
for the topping
1 large egg
pinch of salt
grated sharp cheddar for sprinkling
- directions –
- preheat oven to 350 degrees & butter a baking sheet
- make the choux paste by combining the milk, butter & salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until butter melts & it comes to a boil
- once boiling add the flour all at once stirring continuously until the mixture has pulled away from the sides of the pan and it forms a smooth ball
- transfer the paste to a stand mixer* with paddle attachment and add eggs on medium speed one at a time until fully incorpoated. once all the eggs have been added you should be left with a shiny, smooth mixture. (*you can mix by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer)
- remove from the mixer and stir in remaining ingredients (cheese, pepper, thyme)
- use a spoon to drop the paste in small 1 inch circles spaced evenly on the baking sheet
- make the topping by whisking the egg & salt together. brush it on gougeres & sprinkle with cheese. bake for 25 minutes. the gougeres will feel light comapared to their size when fully cooked. if they are still heavy they need to cook longer.