The hardest part of thIs recipe is pronouncing it. Gruyere Gougères (ɡooˈZHer)
When I write recipes, I try to give them names everyone understands. But there are some that are handed down from the French that just don’t translate well. How about calling them Swiss Cheese Cream Puffs? Not exactly a grabber, but that is what gougères are: small cream puffs filled with cheese, in this case, Swiss Gruyere. And they make some of the best hors d’oeuvres you’ve ever eaten.
The cream puff pastry used to make gougères is called pâte a choux (pronounced pot ah shoo). Don’t confuse cream puff pastry with puff pastry (pâte feuilletée). They are very different. Puff pastry is an involved procedure of layering dough with butter and rolling and folding it into many flaky layers. Pâte a choux is made by melting butter in water or milk on top of the stove.
Ingredients and piping bag with round tip. Heated pan with milk and butter in background.
Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture pulls away from the pan and a thin film develops on the bottom of the pan.
Beat in eggs one at a time until the dough is smooth and shiny. This dough is called cream puff pastry or pâte a choux.
To make gougères, you can either drop spoonsful of the pastry into 1‐inch mounds onto a baking sheet, or fit a pastry bag with a 1/2‐inch round tip and pipe into mounds. Smooth down the points with a finger dipped in water.
They can now be baked immediately, refrigerated overnight or frozen.
Before serving, sprinkle with cheese and bake until golden brown.
A convection oven works great for baking these warm, buttery, eggy golden puffs. Simply reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees. Don't be afraid to make and freeze them before baking. They will puff up just as beautifully after being frozen. They are terrific appetizers, but equally as good for brunch.
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all‐purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Swiss Gruyere plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped for topping
1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons water, for brushing on top
In a heavy, medium‐size saucepan over medium‐high heat, bring the milk, butter and salt to a gentle boil, stirring to melt the butter completely. Add the flour all at once, mixing it in quickly with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and the dough becomes a mass that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to low and continue stirring for one or two minutes until a thin film develops on the bottom of the pan. You want the dough to be as dry as possible.
Remove dough to a mixing bowl and mix for several seconds to cool it. Mix in both mustards, peppers and cheese. On low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated before adding the next one. The mixture should be thick,smooth and shiny. The dough is now ready to be made into Gougères (bite-size cream puffs).
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. The dough can either be dropped by teaspoonful into 1‐inch mounds about 2‐inches apart, or it can be piped through a ½‐inch round tip into 1‐inch mounds. Smooth out any points on the top with a fingertip dipped in water.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Gougère may be refrigerated up to 2 days in a single layer covered. They can be flash frozen and then transferred to plastic freezer bags. Defrost in the refrigerator or at room temperature in a single layer loosely covered.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush with egg and sprinkle with chopped Gruyere. Bake for 10 minutes. If necessary, reverse the pans position in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake until puffed and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Makes about 56 Gougères.