Gougères – choux pastry cheese puffs


Choux pastry is one of those things that tends to scare people a bit but it is actually dead easy. I blame the Great British Bake Off for making it seem more difficult than it really is.

Gougères are little cheesy choux puffs from France, Burgundy originally, I think, and they are delicious. In France, Gougère is often served as a pastry ring with a filling of something creamy that is baked until the top is golden and bubbling.

You need the following;

110g plain flour
85g unsalted butter, plus a knob extra to grease the baking tray
240ml water
55g grated cheese (ideally Gruyère, Comté or Emmenthal)
salt and pepper
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or, even better piment d’Espelette

Preheat the oven to 200C and sift the flour and dry seasonings together and mix them well.

Put the water and butter into a non-stick saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and it is at a rolling boil. Add the flour and remove the pan from the heat. Beat together well with a wooden spoon until the mixture is amalgamated into a ball. Leave this to cool.

One at a time, beat in the eggs until the mixture is shiny and of a dropping consistency. Add the cheese and mix well.

Grease a baking tray and put tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the sheet. You will probably need two baking trays for this amount of batter.

Bake for about 25 minutes until the gougères have puffed up and gone crisp and golden.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Repeat the cooking with the rest of the mixture.

These are lovely at room temperature with a glass or two of Beaujolais or red Burgundy as an aperitif nibble.

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