SWEETTABLESCAPES has a major crush on Gougeres: the small cheese puffs that some restaurants serve in their “bread” basket. When we make them at home – which is pretty much anytime we entertain friends, they disappear faster than you can say ” cheese ball”. This is a savory version of “pate a chou” but of course the sweet variant is a most popular dessert in the form of “cream puffs” and “eclairs”. This light little shell puffs up beautifully in the oven and can be filled with flavored custard (creme patissiere), whipped cream, lemon curd or of course ice-cream when it becomes a “profiterole”. This small “chou” (the French word for cabbage, which obviously shares its shape with the dessert) is a French classic and yet another can’t-be-much-easier-than-this creation.
Make them into mini puffs and they will impress your guests.
We got our recipe from The Food Network:
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In 2 quart pot, combine the butter and water (we used milk) . On a piece of wax or parchment paper, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil, remove from heat and dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or paddle to incorporate.
Return the saucepot to high heat and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The mixture will form a ball and coat the pan with a thin film.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough for a minute or so, on low speed, to release some of the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.
Fit a pastry bag with a round #5 tip and fill with the warm dough. Line a heavy cookie sheet with parchment paper and anchor it to the tray with a little dab of the dough at each corner. Pipe about forty to forty five 1 1/2-inch mounds about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and puffed. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and there are no droplets of moisture in the crevices. Turn off oven and leave the choux to dry for another 10 minutes. Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.