Gougeres with Honey

by Kelly on May 11, 2010

Gougeres
I think we all have those recipes we intend to make, but never get around to.  They hide in the back of recipe boxes, or in the Internet-age, our bookmark list.  We frequently overlook them in favor of whatever is dazzling us at the moment.  And then if we’re lucky, when the time is finally right, we come back to them.  That is the case with me and Gougeres.  Whenever I get one as an amuse bouche at a restaurant, it makes me smile.  (Given that I love cheese…and carbs, this is definitely not a shocker.)  Yet, I often overlook making them at home.  There is always something that stops me.  I don’t have the right ingredients on hand.  They seem too delicate for the occasion.  The excuses go on and on.  But this weekend when faced with an invitation to a cocktail & appetizer party and no inspiration to speak of, the recipe finally seemed perfect.

For those who are unfamiliar, Gougeres are a savory French pastry made from a pate au choux.  They are light, fluffy and airy in the inside with a pleasantly crisp crust, the kind of food that is incredibly easy to overeat and hard to put down.  They are traditionally made with Gruyere, as I used in this recipe, but it seems like you could easily customize based on your favorite cheese of choice.  Best of all, they are easy, which is something I cannot say about a lot of pastry dough!  I may find puff pastry to be a bit of an endeavor, but these little gems are, dare I say, a cinch to make.  Although we best not let that secret to get out because when people taste these little bites you’ll become the recipient of lots of verbal praise, as I learned first hand this weekend.  Best of all, they travel well.  I baked mine off at home and then reheated them in my host’s oven until warm at 350 degrees F (about 5-10 minutes) and they came out perfect as if they were fresh out of the oven.  These are great on their own, but I love them with local honey.  The sweetness is welcome and well balanced by the savory and salty in the puffs.

Gougeres
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Yields approximately 4 dozen

Ingredients:
-1 cup water
-1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, roughly chopped
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-4-5 large eggs
-1 1/2 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese
-2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
-Rounded 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Place your racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt over medium high heat. Continue to cook, stirring, until butter has melted and mixture has come to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 30 seconds. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 1 1/2 minutes to remove more moisture. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly for about 3 1/2 minutes.

Add your eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture until it is incorporated. The batter will appear to separate at first, but will then come together in a dough. Continue adding the eggs one at a time until the dough is glossy and just stiff enough to hold peaks, but pliable enough to fall softly from a spoon. This may or may not require the last egg, so monitor your dough accordingly. Stir in the cheese, pepper, and nutmeg until well incorporated.

Fill a pastry bag (or Ziplock bag with a snipped corner) with the dough and pipe 1-inch rounds onto your baking sheets, approximately 1-inch apart. Continue until you have used all the dough. Bake in the oven, switching positions of your sheets half way through, until the gougeres are puffed, golden, and crisp, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

What about you? Is there a recipe you’ve been meaning to make but keep putting off?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany May 11, 2010 at 10:19 am

Wow! These look fancy and awesome… and I am very glad to hear that they are easy! This is going on the to-make list — hopefully when I have someone to impress.

That’s so funny that it’s the same Target… it’s a 10-minute walk from my house! Let’s do brunch again soon 🙂

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Jessica @ How Sweet May 11, 2010 at 10:38 am

Ahhh I want some of that right now. Delicious.

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To Kiss the Cook May 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

LOVE gougeres. So simple and yet encompassing so much cheesy, puffy magic. And with honey? Ashamed I didn’t think of it…fantastic!

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5 Star Foodie May 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Scrumptious with honey! I’ve been meaning to make these for a while, my daughter’s been asking since she’s tried them in Addison in San Diego this winter.

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Gwen Winsor May 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I may be reading this wrong but when do you add the cheese??

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Kelly May 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

You’re not reading it wrong, that was my error. It is now corrected in the recipe.

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Amanda May 11, 2010 at 4:41 pm

These look delicious. Love gruyere cheese!

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Elina May 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm

My mom makes these guys but I never knew what they were called. She stuffs them with a cottage cheese/garlic/herb mixture – they are so good. Now I want to make my own 🙂

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Kerstin May 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

They definitely don’t look easy – they look impressive! And I can just imagine how good they are straight out of the oven -yum! I’m saving the recipe 🙂

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Shannon May 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm

ooh, the addition of honey is fabulous!!!!

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CaSaundra May 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

Ooo these look so wonderful–I bet the smell of them baking is glorious as well! I think I need to come stay with you and take some French Baking 101 classes!! I need to branch out in different cuisines!

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Kathleen May 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Gougeres with honey…YUM. Simple, elegant and really delicious!

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The Duo Dishes May 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

The honey is definitely a perfect addition. The gougeres are awesome with orange or lemon zest in the batter as well.

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Reeni May 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I bet they just melt in your mouth with the honey. That’s a great way to serve them. I started a list – named it 52 recipes – I think it’s up to 100 now – but I have made about 20 of them.

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Susan May 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Cheese and honey! Choux is probably the easiest pastry to master (outside of frozen puff ; )). So glad you tried it.

There are too many recipes I’d love to try and not nearly enough lifetimes for them…but I do have my eye on an opera cake…someday.

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Carolyn Jung May 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I am so digging the addition of the honey. I’ve had gougeres many times, but always found them a little too one dimensional. The honey would definitely make it more complex and delightful.

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Maria May 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm

What a lovely combination of flavors! Great little bites!

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