These gougères are ideal for cocktail parties, if you ask me. I once had gougères served alongside a cocktail at the elegant No.9 Park in Boston. Since then I have been baking these sophisticated appetizers at home often. People adore them, especially when they are homemade.
We are slowly getting into the Holiday spirit. Last weekend, when it was unrealistically white outside in The Hague, we already made a large batch of these gougères for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. You can freeze them perfectly and, that way, you’ll always have a home baked appetizer within minutes.
I like my gougères to be kind of rustic, so I do not use a piping bag. But if you prefer these appetizers somewhat neater and more regular in shape, please use one. You can hardly go wrong with them, but just to be sure, take a look at the tips and tricks below.
Appetizer, makes about 50 gougères
Action Time: 20 minutes, plus 20-40 minutes baking
100 ml/3.5 fl oz milk
150 ml/5 fl oz water
100 g/3.5 oz unsalted butter, in cubes
½ tsp salt
150 g/3.5 oz all-purpose flour
125 g/4.5 oz finely grated gruyère, plus a little extra
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary and/or thyme
optional: 1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
Extra: baking sheet covered with parchment paper, electric mixer
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. In a saucepan, bring milk, water, butter, and the salt to a boil; stir until butter is melted. Turn down the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture pulls away form the pan and forms a smooth ball. Remove the pan from the heat and let dough cool slightly, for about 4-5 minutes.
2. Put the dough ball into a bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little separated; keep beating and it will all work out fine. Mix in 100 g/3.5 oz cheese, the herbs, and if using the tomatoes. Mix in some freshly ground pepper. Taste the batter (yes, I always taste my batter) and add some more salt if necessary.
3. Bake the gougères in 2-3 batches: with the aid of two teaspoons scoop small amounts of dough onto the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart and about the size of a cherry tomato. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the gougères are golden brown and puffed. Eat warm or lukewarm.
This picture shows Step 1, when the dough has pulled away form the pan
Tips & Trics
– Finely grate the cheese and don’t use more than the recipe indicates. My mom, who is a great but slightly chaotic cook, baked my gougères twice and they came out flat as pancakes. It turned out she’d put in way too much coarsely grated cheese.
– Of course, you can use other types of cheese, as long as they are somewhat sharp.
– You’ll only end up with 50 gougères if you scoop really small amounts of dough onto the baking sheets (about the size of a small cherry tomato). Don’t worry if they look too small, they will puff beautifully in the oven. If you prefer, you can transfer the dough to a piping bag with 1,5 cm /½ inch round tip.
– You can make the batter about 2 hours in advance. You can also bake the gougères in advance and reheat them for 2 minutes in the oven before serving.
– Gougères freeze wonderfully. After baking, allow them to cool. Put them in a plastic bag and freeze for up to several months. Reheat the gougères straight from the freezer for about 2-3 minutes in the oven (200°C/400°F).