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Gougeres – Cheese Savouries from Dragonfly in Amber

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Light, cheesy puffs of (almost) air. The perfect finger food for your next cocktail party or potluck.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ cups Butter, Cubed
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Dry Mustard Powder (or See Note For Substitutions)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 4 whole Large Eggs (see Note; Must Be Large Eggs, Not Extra Large)
  • 1-½ cup Grated Cheese - Gruyere Or Aged Cheddar

Preparation

Ensure the rack is in the middle position of your oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Combine the water, butter, salt and mustard powder (if using) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Then remove pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir in the flour until a smooth paste forms. Return to heat over medium-low and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes to dry out the dough. It’s ready when it’s shiny and stiff.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat the dough on medium-low for 1 minute, until the steam dissipates. Alternatively, use a handheld mixer, or beat the dough by hand with a wooden spoon.

With the machine on, add the eggs one at a time, waiting until the egg is absorbed and the dough is smooth before adding the next egg. Scrape down the bowl as needed. When all of the eggs are incorporated, you will have a smooth, creamy batter that hangs from a spoon in a ragged V. Beat in the cheese.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Use a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip to pipe out ping pong ball-sized mounds, at least 1” apart. Alternately, drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto the sheet if you don’t have a piping bag. Wet your fingertip with cold water and smooth down the peaked tops.

Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the heated oven. (If there’s room in your refrigerator, refrigerate the second sheet while the first bakes.)

To prevent the dough from collapsing, do not open the oven door for the first 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the sheet 90 degrees, reduce the oven temp to 350°F, and continue baking until golden, about 10-15 more minutes. The gougeres should feel lightweight and hollow.

Cool on a wire rack. Reheat the oven to 425°F before baking the second batch using the same method above.

Serve warm. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and crisp them up in a warm oven before serving.

Notes:
– Strong, aged cheeses work best for this recipe. Let’s just say mozzarella gougeres won’t knock your socks off. Gruyere is traditional, and my favourite.
– I love adding a little freshly ground, coarse black pepper or cayenne to the dough instead of the dry mustard powder for a little extra kick.
– When I say large eggs, I really mean it for this recipe. Don’t use extra large. If you can’t find large, buy medium instead. Too much egg will cause the puffs to cave-in. And if they do cave in, don’t sweat it! They’ll still be delicious … and they will have character.
– Gougeres can be any size you like. Marble-sized (to garnish soup), or big tennis ball-sized ones (which make great fancy sandwiches). Adjust baking times as required.

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