If you’re still looking for a dish to make this week for Thanksgiving – whether you are hosting or simply contributing – I suggest you consider gougères. These delectable little cheese puffs are not only incredibly easy to make, but you can do most of the preparation ahead of time! Greet your guests with these deceptively impressive bites and their aperitif of choice before they gather around the table for the main attraction. They work perfectly as an appetizer (or in my opinion, an anytizer) and more importantly, they pair perfectly with a glass of champagne.
Gougères are known to have originated in the Burgundy region of France and are traditionally made of choux dough mixed with cheese. The savory treat can be altered to include other ingredients such as mushrooms, ham, herbs, and spices – I’m thinking of making a Roquefort and walnut variation this week. If preparing the gougères in advance, put them in the refrigerator or freezer after they’ve baked. Take them out before serving and place in a high heat oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Mimi Thorisson
Makes roughly 40
- 1 cup water
- 7 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour
- 2 cups grated Emmenthal, Comté, or Gruyère cheese
- 4 eggs (not entirely sure where my fourth egg disappeared to in the picture below)
- 1 egg yolk for egg wash
- A dash of ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the flour, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon all the while, and then take the pan off the heat. The liquid should absorb and the batter will take the shape of a soft ball. If your liquid does not absorb immediately as expected, you can stir over low heat until it dries out and the batter pulls away from the pan.
After the batter cools for a minute, slowly add each egg into the mix – one by one, stirring. Continue to stir until the batter becomes smooth. Throw in the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir again until the ingredients combine and the batter is smooth.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Shape the dough into even spheres roughly the size of a walnut (about two teaspoons worth). This can also be done with a pastry bag. Coat each puff with egg yolk wash and sprinkle lightly with extra grated cheese. Bake the gougères for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm!