Herb and Cheese Gougeres
Every now and then, one needs a little baked gem! These savory and airy gougeres made from choux pastry mixed with cheese are delightful. They make terrific appetizers or additions to just about any entrée, and can be served “as is” or sliced and stuffed with any variety of fillings such as chicken or seafood salad, or vegetables. Vary the flavor by changing up the cheese and herbs depending on your taste preferences or what you have available. For a slightly denser texture, try using all-purpose white whole wheat flour, which provides many more valuable nutrients than regular all-purpose flour. This recipe can also be prepared with gluten-free flour if desired. I suggest using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Flour or King Arthur’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour for an easy swap.oux pa
Gougeres (unstuffed) may be baked ahead, cooled and refrigerated, or frozen for later use. Reheat just prior to serving. Stuffed gougeres may be wrapped tightly and refrigerated until ready to serve. Allow to come slightly to room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving; do not reheat stuffed gougeres.
Makes: approximately 20 larger-sized or 30 – 35 appetizer-sized
1 cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, regular or white whole wheat (or gluten-free flour)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs – single or a combo of rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 large eggs, chilled
3 ½ ounces shredded cheese – Gruyere, Cheddar, Fontina, Asiago, Manchego or Blue
- Arrange oven racks to accommodate 2 large cookie sheets, if needed. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir to combine ingredients. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
TIP: You want the dough to dry out a bit at this step so it will absorb the eggs in the next step. Be sure to cook it long enough – about 1 – 2 minutes – stirring constantly. It should look dry and smell slightly nutty.
- Remove pan from heat; cool dough for about 2 – 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer, hand-held mixer or by hand, add one egg and beat until completely incorporated. Add remaining eggs one at a time, continuing to beat until fully incorporated.
TIP: It is important for the eggs to be fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after incorporating each egg. The dough may look lumpy, separated or curdled at times –keep beating and it will come together.
- Stir in the cheese just until evenly distributed.
TIP: Use only the amount of cheese stated. Too much cheese will make the gougeres greasy and not puff properly.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon (larger for stuffing) or 2 teaspoons (appetizer size) of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, 2 – 3 inches apart.
TIP: Allow enough space between gougeres. Placing the dough too close together will prevent each other from expanding.
- Bake until the outsides are puffed and golden brown. The centers should be slightly moist and “eggy”, cooked but not dry.
- For 1 tablespoon-sized scoop – approximately 20 – 25 minutes
- For 2 teaspoon-sized scoop – approximately 17 – 22 minutes
- Gougeres may be served hot or cooled, and they can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 5 – 10 minutes, until hot.
IDEAS FOR STUFFED GOUGERES
- Vegetables – sliced, roasted, or grilled artichokes, mushrooms, or roots
- Super greens or cucumber slices with herb spread
- Caprese – layered mozzarella, basil, and tomato
- Chicken salad – plain, curried or other variation
- Shrimp, crab, or lobster salad
- Grilled salmon, chicken, or pork
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