Source: Georgeanne Brennan, author of Gather: Memorable Menus for Entertaining Throughout the Seasons (Sasquatch Books, September 2009).
These make wonderful appetizer party fare, and can be served plain or with your choice of filling, such as slivers of cheese and proscuitto, chicken or crab salad.
Makes about 30
1 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 egg lightly beaten
1½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- Preheat an oven to 425º F. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the water, butter, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring. Continue to cook until the butter has melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Put the flour in all at once, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the side of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and make a well in the center. Crack one egg into the well and beat it into the hot mixture, either with the wooden spoon or an electric hand-held mixer. Repeat with three more eggs. Whisk in 1 cup of the cheese, mixing well.
- Line 2 baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper. Use a teaspoon to shape the gougeres. Dip the spoon into a glass of cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoonful of the mixture, and push it onto the baking sheet with your fingertips. Repeat, dipping the spoon in the water each time to prevent sticking. When done, brush the top of each with a little of the egg mixture being careful not to let it drip onto the paper, as this will inhibit the puffing. Sprinkle each with a little of the remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350º F and bake until the gougeres are golden brown and crunchy, about another 15 minutes. If underdone, they will be mushy and uncooked inside. When done, pierce each with a wooden skewer to let out the steam, and then turn off the oven. Leave them in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.