If you think about it, gougères are not bread, but are, as Julia Child suggests in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, "a very very thick white sauce," so there is no reason to fear making and baking them...
Of course, I have crippling separation anxiety when it comes to making sauces.
Gougères, French Cheese Puffs Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- ¾ cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 to 1½ cup grated Gruyère cheese Gruyère is a cream-colored Swiss-type cheese, but you can use any semi-hard cheese you like
- 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
- optional: additional grated cheese or chopped fresh herbs for topping
- In a heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil with butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg and boil until the butter has just melted.
- Remove pan from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir to combine; the dough will look like a paste.
- Return saucepan to stove. Cook, beating vigorously, for one minute more until dough stays together and starts to create a film on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat. Beat eggs into dough one at a time until egg is completely incorporated. In the beginning it won't look like anything is happening, but then the egg will suddenly magically disappear into the dough. It takes a little bit longer with each egg.
- Stir in the cheese. (The cheese may or may not fully "melt" into the dough.)
- Using a pastry bag or a large plastic zipper top bag with the corner snipped off, pipe dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush top of each gougère with egg wash. If you'd like sprinkle tops with a little extra grated cheese or chopped fresh herbs.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from baking trays. Serve immediately.
- It is possible to freeze extra gougeres, though it is unlikely you will have leftovers. Just "re-crisp" them in a 425° oven for 3 to 4 minutes.