GougèresPosted: September 23, 2012
Remember that tutorial I put together for Choux Pastry?
Well here’s a yum idea for taking things a little further than chocolate profiteroles – cheesey, savoury Gougères!
You can pipe them or, as I prefer, just use a couple of teaspoons to roughly shape a ball of dough. They can be enjoyed as is – the addition of the cheese makes for a more substantial filling that the sweet variety, or, as I’ve done here, glamoured them up with the addition of puff pastry and a deliciously savoury cheese filling.
I shamelessly stole the puff pastry idea from a clip I saw on the Food Channel – the ones I saw were for sweet cream puffs, but they work just as deliciously with the savoury ones as well. Simply cut out small(8cm) squares of puff pastry and then pipe/spoon a walnut-sized blob of choux pastry into the centre. Fold the four corners into the middle, around the choux pastry, and bake as normal. The puff pastry forms a crisp, flaky cup into which the choux dough expands and makes for an awesome added texture that contrasts so well with the cooked choux.
Serving suggestions: With the puff pastry or without, with a filling or without, with both filling AND pastry, or without either. Absolutely up to you.
1 batch of Choux Pastry from here, up to the point where ‘dropping consistency’ has been achieved, then:
80g Gruyere cheese, grated 
1 tsp dry yellow mustard powder
salt and pepper
- Add the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper to the choux dough and stir well to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan
- Roll out – or if you’ve got ready rolled pastry, then unroll – the puff pastry and divide it into squares of about 8cm. The pastry should be about 4-5mm thick.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lay out the pieces of puff pastry. Make sure there is about 3cm between each piece to allow for the pastry puffing up during cooking.
- Using 2 teaspoons ( or a piping bag with a 1cm plain tip if you prefer), place walnut-sized blobs of the cheesy choux dough in the middle of each piece of puff pastry.
- Fold the four corners of the pastry squares inwards, towards the blob of choux paste, until they almost meet in the middle.
- Brush the outsides with beaten egg white and sprinkle with additional cheese if liked.
- If you run out of pastry squares, just spoon the extra choux onto the baking paper and cook them as regular gougeres.
- Cook each tray at 200°C, 180°C Fan oven for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 175°C, 155°C Fan to continue baking/drying for 20 minutes more. NO PEEKING! If you open the door to check their progress, you let out all the heat which means no steam which means no puffing up.
- Check for done-ness at 25 minutes (10 mins + 15 mins). These choux buns will be a DEEP golden brown when done, and the puff pastry puffed, flakey and golden. If you’re not sure, remove just ONE bun and cut it open and see for yourself.
- Immediately poke a hole in each choux puff to let out the steam and help prevent them deflating as they cool.
- The choux will keep in an airtight box for a couple of days – ‘refresh’ them in a 100°C, 80°C Fan oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp them up again before eating.
You can serve the gougères immediately, still warm from the oven, or you can add a filling. Here are a couple that I particularly like, one warm, one cold. Use a piping bag with a long nozzle to add the filling, or slice off a lid and just spoon it in.
Cold fillings: Beat some cream cheese with a little creme fraiche and add some coarsley grated black pepper and some fresh herbs – I used lemon thyme in the photo at the top of the page. Alternatively, you could stir in some finely chopped ham instead of the herbs. The contrast of the warm, crisp pastry and the chilled filling is delicious.
Warm fillings: A thick cheese ‘custard’ completes the cheesy experience of each puff – great for indulgent, gourmet snacking!
30g plain flour
50g Parmesan cheese – grated
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp dry yellow mustard powder
- Whisk all the ingredients together and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously.
- Simmer for 1 minute to ‘cook out’ the flour.
- If the mixture seems a little thick, add a little more milk and stir thoroughly.
Sweet Version – see pic below
Proceed as above without adding any cheese/seasoning and spoon/pipe the plain choux onto the puff pastry squares.
Fill each cooked puff with creme patissière and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
 Gruyere cheese has a lovely strong, nutty flavour and also melts really easily. You can use any strongly flavoured cheese that you like though – if you’re using hard Italian cheese (parmesan, grana padano etc), then use just 50g.
 Top Tip: The taste of anything cheesy can be improved by the addition of a little dry mustard powder. In the UK, the most familiar brand is made by Colman’s and is sold in an iconic bright yellow tin. The quantity isn’t enough to overpower, but the spiciness adds a subtle piquancy that sets off the cheese flavour beautifully.
 Feel free to make your own, but to be honest, for this recipe I used ready made. Also, the strong cheese flavour of the gougères means you can get away with buying the cheaper type of puff pastry – as opposed to the ‘all butter’ type – *gasp* I know, right? Sacrilege! If you’re going to make the sweet version cream puff, then my recommendation would be that you don’t scrimp – use the all-butter puff pastry. The ready rolled packs are a great time-saver.