When we were at The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune, France we started our amazing meal with gougères. They are delicious little cheesy pastry puffs that are typically served at the beginning of a meal with a glass of champagne. They are also served during wine tastings and I believe they originated in the Burgundy region.
So, I was thinking I want to try to bake something new. New Year’s Eve is coming up. People drink champagne on NYE. Gougères are served with champagne. I’ll make gougères, Voila!
These aren’t difficult ingredients or instructions. But there is a factor of “knowing” when the dough is right. Were mine perfect? No. Were they still very good and easy to know where I went wrong? Yes. I expect better results next time but I am not at all disappointed!
To make these little pastry puffs, you begin with a Pâte à Choux (pronounced pat a shoe) or Choux Pastry (pronounced shoe pastry). This is a dough that can be used for many things, both sweet and savory. Fill them with ice cream or pastry cream. Make profiteroles, éclairs, or mix cheese into the batter to make gougères.
Here are the beauties we made as a group at The Cook’s Atelier
Notice their perfect “puff” shape. Mine didn’t look exactly like that. Mine were more like this
I think I used too much egg. The recipe from The Cook’s Atelier (which you can find here) says to use 3 eggs then add some of a 4th if you need it. Well, I think my American eggs are bigger than their French eggs. I think I should have stopped at 3 eggs.
My other issue is that I think I made them too big and/or piped them too flat. If you see the 4 gougères on the left side they are quite a bit smaller than all the others. Those were a better, more traditional size for my purpose.
I’m only telling you all this so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. You probably will do it perfectly the first time but you know… just in case.
These can be served immediately, warm or at room temperature, or made ahead of time. If you make ahead, wait for them to cool completely then store in an airtight container. You can reheat them for a few minutes in a warm oven before serving to crisp them up again. I know that they reheat well because I tested it out this morning. Not because I wanted to eat more of them… I did it for you guys… all for you. #sacrafices
The outside is nice and brown and crispy and the inside is light and airy.
So yummy and the perfect way to start off any evening but especially New Year’s Eve!
5 oz Water
2 ½ oz Unsalted Butter (about 5 T)
½ tsp Salt
2 ½ oz All-Purpose Flour (a little over ½ cup)
3 large Eggs (or maybe 4 small)
½ c coarsely grated Comté cheese
Comté cheese, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 350
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grate cheese onto a piece of wax paper.
Crack one egg into a small bowl and beat.
Crack other two eggs into a measuring cup; do not beat.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil.
Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the dough pulls away from the sides and starts to form a ball. A thin film should be on the bottom of the pan.
Continue to stir over low heat for another 2 minutes for the dough to dry a bit.
Beat in the first egg, stirring vigorously with the wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated.
Do the same thing with the second egg.
*If you scoop the batter up, it should fall off the spoon in a ball. It should not glide off in a stream.
Use as much of the 3rd beaten egg as necessary to get the right consistency to where it falls off the spoon in a ball. Better have a batter that is a little too dry as opposed to too wet.
Beat in the coarsely grated cheese. (I didn’t have Comté so I used Emmentaler. You can also use Gruyere but it does have a stronger flavor)
Pipe or spoon the gougères onto the baking sheet. Be careful not to flatten them.
Carefully brush the tops with remaining beaten egg (to glaze). Try to keep the egg wash just on the top of the pastry, not running down the sides.
Sprinkle some of the finely grated cheese on top.
Immediately place in the oven and bake until they are puffed and browned, about 25 minutes depending on the size (my big ones were 30-32 minutes).
Take out of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can store in an airtight container for a couple of days, reheat for a few minutes in a warm oven before serving.
WISHING YOU ALL A SAFE AND HAPPY 2017!