Gougères are the highest form of “cheese puffs,” wonderful with wine and cocktails, including Champagne. Photo © Marc Roche | Fotolia.
JEAN-YVES CHARON is Co-Founder and Master Pastry Chef of Galaxy Desserts in Richmond, California.
Recipe: Pâte à Choux
Make Delicious Gougères At Home
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While you can turn pâte à choux dough into any of the wonderful pastries discussed on the previous page—and more—do what many French people do when they entertain at home and whip up a platter of gougères. These warm, airy puffs of pastry and Gruyère cheese are a perfect pairing with a glass of wine, beer or Champagne, can be enjoyed by the family everyday, and will have your guests begging for more.
After you’ve enjoyed turning out gougères, you can turn your attention to profiteroles—leave the cheese out of the recipe below, and bake up the same puffs. Then, instead of popping them into your mouth whole at the beginning of the meal, slice them in half, stuff them with ice cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce for dessert (see photo on Page 1).
Can you start a meal with gougères and end it with profiteroles? Pourquoi pas!
Recipe For Gougères & Other Applications
Yields 1.7 pounds of pâte à choux dough (about 28 gougères).
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup bread flour*
- 5 eggs
- For gougères, 3-1/2 ounces (1 cup) shredded Gruyère cheese,
plus more for sprinkling
- For gougères: pinch of pepper and nutmeg
*Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that has small amounts of malted barley flour and vitamin C or potassium bromate added. The barley flour helps the yeast work, and the other additive increases the elasticity of the gluten, which helps the dough rise and retain a better texture. Read more about bread in our Bread Glossary.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Measure all ingredients. Melt the butter. Add sugar to the milk (for sweet recipes only) and salt (for both sweet and savory recipes), and bring to a boil.
Photo of step 2 at right. Cooking photos courtesy Jean-Yves Charon.
- When the butter is melted and the milk comes to a full boil, remove the pot from the stove and add the flour, all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spatula.
Photo of Step 3 at right.
- Continue to stir until mixture forms a ball.
Photo of Step 4 at right.
- Return the pot to the stove and dry the mixture for a few minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
- Mix with a spatula and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the eggs one by one while stirring vigorously after each addition. You do not want the egg to cook in the mixture.
- When you have added all the eggs, your mixture should be shiny, smooth and elastic. If making gougères, add the cheese and the pinch of pepper and nutmeg.
Photo of Step 7 at right.
- Now you are ready to pipe your pâte à choux mixture onto parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe small round puffs onto the paper. Keep in mind that the items will expand about 1.5 to 2 times their size.
- For cream puffs, the size depends on what finished size you’d like. Profiteroles, which are cut in half, filled with ice cream and served with chocolate sauce, are usually piped about the size of a quarter, since several pieces are served per person. Éclairs are piped into log shapes, baked, then filled with flavored pastry cream and topped with flavored fondant icing. The most common flavors are vanilla topped with chocolate fondant and coffee topped with coffee fondant. Salambos are piped more oval in shape, baked, then filled with orange pastry cream and topped with pink or green fondant.
- Optional: for a shinier look, you can brush the pâte à choux with an egg wash. Simply whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and brush on the puffs.
Photo of Step 10 at right.
- Savory choux puffs are generally served as appetizers, so they will be piped small enough to be one or two bites when filled. Gougères should be piped in tablespoon-sized mounds.
- When baking, it is crucial to pre-heat the oven at a high temperature, 400°F, so that the pâte à choux rises. Once you put the pâte à choux in the oven, it should be turned down to 375°F to bake. Do not open the oven door until the choux has turned golden brown or the puffs may fall. It is also important to bake until the entire puff is golden brown. If underbaked, you’ll notice a white ring around the middle or toward the bottom of the puff, and if removed from the oven at this time, the puffs will fall.
Photo: Finished puffs in the oven.
Baked gougères freeze well. Store totally cooled gougères in double freezer-grade plastic bags; defrost at room temperature and heat briefly in a hot oven.
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Recipe © copyright Jean-Yves Charon. Other written material