Gougères (snack food with the difficult name!)

Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

It’s a cheese puff with a fancy name! The exterior is crisp and the interior soft and custardy. Made small, they are a great snack to serve before dinner or make them larger to be filled. Gougères are typically made with Gruyère cheese and thyme, a combination that begs to be filled with sweet orange marmalade (my personal favorite). You can substitute any hard cheese and herbs you desire in the recipe.

The puff comes from the pâte à Choux, the same glorious dough that is made into éclaires and profiteroles. It is full of eggs that souflee in the oven to create a hollow shell with a tender eggy center. The addition of the cheese and herbs make this version a savory treat, but if you stop short of adding those last ingredients you can bake them, fill them with pastry cream or ice cream and have dessert. Once again I just can’t resist turning everything into sweets.

I came across this recipe, which I’ve made so often the page is falling out of the Tartine cookbook, when I was making the lemon meringue bars last week, from the same book. I think I need a trip to San Fransisco to visit the bakery again! Until then I will just bake my way through this book.

Gougères from Tartine:

Choux paste:

1 1/4 cup non fat milk (or water)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs

3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped thyme

Topping:

1 large egg, for egg wash

pinch salt

Grated Gruyere cheese for sprinkling

Gougères ingredients | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment

To make the Choux paste, combine the milk, butter and salt in a sauce pan and place over medium heat until butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil.

Melting butter on stove | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the flour all at once, stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth paste and pulls away form the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes.

Adding flour for Gougères dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Mixing Gougères dough in pan | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Gougères dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Transfer the paste to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beating Gougères dough in mixer | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed, incorporating each one completely.

Adding egg to Gougères dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding and mix each of the other eggs. When all of the eggs have been added the mixture will be thick, smooth and shiny.

Gougères

Remove the bowl and add the cheese, pepper and thyme, and mix in with a rubber spatula.

Adding cheese, pepper and thyme to Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip about about 1/2″ wide, filling it about 1/3 of the way full so it is still easy to handle. Pipe the mixture out onto the parchment, making quarter size mounds that are about 1/2″ high. Leave about 1 1/2″ space between the mounds. Or, you can use a spoon to drop the mounds onto the parchment, but it is harder to control the thick mixture.

Piping Gougères on to baking sheet | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The mounds may have cheese poking out in odd directions. With a wet finger just pat the mound into a more uniform shape.

Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To make the topping, whisk together the egg and salt. Brush the tops of the mounds and then sprinkle with the cheese.

Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Place the Gougères in the preheated oven and don’t open the door until they are nicely browned or they may collapse.

Baking Gougères | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Bake until they have puffed and are nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

Gougères (snack food with the difficult name!) | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

They are delicious served hot, warm or room temperature. They can also be frozen and reheated in the oven for 5 minutes directly from the freezer.

11 thoughts to “Gougères (snack food with the difficult name!)”

  1. Wasn’t sure where to ask a basic bread making question, so I apologize if this is the wrong place. When using your master recipe, after the two hour rising should you punch down the dough in the container before putting it in the refrigerator, or does it matter? Thanks.

  2. Hi Jim,

    I’m happy to talk bread any time.

    After the initial rise there is no need to punch down the dough. In fact, we recommend that you don’t in order to keep all of those large air holes in tact. It is one of the reasons we handle the dough very quickly when shaping the loaves, too much work and all the air is compressed. Having said that if you have punched down the dough it really won’t matter after a couple more hours of resting in the refrigerator. I have often had to scrape the dough off of the lid of my containers and it is just fine. Try a slightly larger container (about 6 qts) so that your dough can really grow without wanting to bust out.

    Thanks for the question and let me know how the bread comes out!

    Zoë

  3. Hi- Why the nonfat milk? I work at a raw dairy and we are looking for ways to incorporate our milk and cheese (we make an awesome Gruyere) into recipes but our milk is all whole. Would there be a real problem using full fat milk?

  4. Hi Laura,

    I’d LOVE to try your Gruyere it must be amazing. The reason I call for nonfat milk is that the recipe for the pâte à choux is already heavy in fat from the butter. If you use whole milk in addition to the butter fat the baked Gougères have less structure and are more likely to collapse once they are cooled. One thing you can do is use your whole milk and dilute it 50/50 with water.

    Where can we find your cheese?

    Thanks, Zoë

  5. I could ship you some !

    The website for the farm I work at is http://www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com; please check us out 🙂

    We sell most of our cheeses at the farm store, but Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic region also carries them, along with other East Coast cheese shops and several restaurants.

    Thanks for the suggestion on diluting the milk; I have your book on my Amazon wish list.

  6. Hi Laura,

    That would be wonderful! Thanks. Your cheese looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for sending the website.
    I hope you enjoy the book when it comes!

    Zoë

  7. Hi Harry,

    Do you mean before you bake them? If so, you may get away with cutting up the ham or sausage into very small bits and folding it in with the cheese.

    If you mean after they are baked, you can just cut them in half and fill them just like a cream puff.

    I hope this helps!

    Zoë

  8. Hi Zoe,

    I want to make these for an out-of-town holiday party I’m going to and am wondering what’s the best option:

    1. Should I make them the morning of and reheat them when I get there?

    2. Should I make the “batter” ahead of time and bake them when I get to the party?

    3. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks!

  9. Hi Megan,

    I have often made things like this and frozen them, then reheated them when I was ready to serve. I don’t think the batter would travel well?

    If you make them the morning of, you would not have to freeze.

    Enjoy! Zoë

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