Gougères are small cheesy puffs of choux pastry, usually served with a pre-meal glass of wine. They are traditionally from Burgundy, where I tried them when I was a child. I then promptly tried to forget about them, as they seemed too decadent and addictive to safely have in my life. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, although I love making desserts, but I find cheese to have the same addictive qualities more traditionally associated with crystal meth or crack. I made quite a large quantity of these, so decided to play around with a couple of different types, so a third were traditional, a third with fennel seeds and a third with cayenne, all of which were great (though I think the fennel was my favourite). I used a mix of strong cheddar and parmesan, although gruyere, emmental or comte are meant to be more traditional. These are additionally dangerous because they are quite easy to make, and turned out beautifully light and crisp on my first go. They also freeze very well while baked, so are a handy thing to make ahead. Leave them to cool after baking, and freeze on a baking tray. Once they are frozen through, they can be put into ziplock bags but don’t freeze them this way initially as they will stick together. To reheat, just bake in the oven at 160° until warmed through (about 3-5 minutes). This makes quite a lot, about 50 bite size gougères.
- 125ml water
- 125ml milk
- 120g finely grated cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 150g flour
- 110g butter
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1-2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil.
- Mix in the flour and stir to combine.
- Cook for about 2 minutes until it has formed an elastic dough which is coming away from the sides of the pan, much like a roux.
- Place the dough in a bowl and leave to cool for a minute so that your eggs won’t scramble when added.
- Add each egg one at a time, mixing to incorporate well (this stage looks a bit disgusting, and like it is curdling, but it isn’t so just keep going and it will look great in the end).
- Stir in 100g of cheese and add the nutmeg and some salt and pepper. 8. Add the dough to a piping bag (or just a ziplock bag with the corner tip cut off).
- Pipe in approx 1 inch circles onto a lined baking sheet, allowing a bit of space between each, although they do not spread out hugely.
- Sprinkle all with the remaining cheese.
- Sprinkle some with fennel seeds and some with cayenne.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until puffy and golden brown (keep an eye on them from about 14 minutes on).