I have been wanting to make gougeres for the longest time. I have this phobia of making choux pastry, fearing my roux would burn, the mixture becoming lumpy and so on. Since I was in the “French” mood, I brave up and attempted to make some gougeres.

Oh man, gougeres were so easy to make. My roux didn’t burn and everything was taken care by the mixer. The only tedious work that need to be done was grating of cheese. And silly me who got so scared about gougeres.

The wonderful thing about making gougeres is that you can prepare extra and freeze them, and bake them when needed. Dorie Greenspan’s version uses Gruyere cheese which is salty and delicious. You can also use other cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, Comte and so on.

I like gougeres when they are fresh out of the oven – they are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I brought them to my friends’ office and served as breakfast – they actually don’t mind them at room temperature. Still, I think they are best consumed while warm.

Dorie Greenspan’s Gougeres

(Adapted from Around my French Table)

Makes about 36 gougeres

Ingredients
1)      120ml (½ cup) whole milk
2)      120ml (½ cup) water
3)      120g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4)      ½ teaspoon salt
5)      120g all purpose flour
6)      5 large eggs (280g without shell), at room temperature*
7)      170g coarsely grated cheese (Gruyere or cheddar)**
8)      Pinch of black pepper (optional)***

Methods
-        Preheat the oven to 220oC. Line two baking sheets with silicon baking sheets or parchment paper.
-        Add the milk, water, butter and salt in a saucepan and place it on the stove (At this stage, you should also standby your wooden spoon). Over high heat, bring the mixture to a rapid boil.
-        Add the flour all at once and reduce the heat to medium low. With your wooden spoon, quickly stir the mixture. A dough will be formed and a light crust might develop. Just keep stirring vigorously for 1-2 minutes to dry out the dough. You should end up with a smooth dough.
-        Remove the pot from the heat and place the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer. If you are using a wooden spoon, you need to work fast).
-        Let the dough sit for a minute – I would usually turn the mixer on a low speed and spin the dough a couple of rounds to release the heat.
-        On medium speed, slowly add the eggs one by one until everything is incorporated and the dough is thick and shiny. If the dough separates while you are adding the egg, do not panic. Everything will come together when the last egg is added.
-        Once all the eggs are added, you can beat in the grated cheese and season with a pinch of black pepper (if you are doing so).
-        The dough needs to be spooned out immediately.
-        I like to use an ice cream scoop (about 1 tablespoon size) to spoon the dough – this way I will get even-sized gougeres and I don’t have to worry about the dough sticking onto the spoon. If you do not have an ice cream scoop, you can use 2 spoons – one to scoop the dough and the other to push and drop the dough. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space in between.
-        If you do not wish to bake all the gougeres, once you have spooned the dough onto the baking sheet, put the sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, you should be able to lift the gougeres off the sheet easily and pack them in ziplock****.
-        Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 190oC. Bake for 12 minutes, rotate the baking sheets, from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougeres turned golden brown and formed a crust. They should also puff up at this stage. This will take about 12-15 minutes.
-        Once the gougeres are done, you can serve them immediately. If not, transfer them to rack to cool. They are best eaten on the day you made them.

The inside

*The size of the egg is quite important for this recipe. Do not use those extra large eggs – too much egg will cause the gougeres to collapse. If you want, you can actually measure the amount of egg as stated above (A large egg is around 56g without shell).
**In Singapore, not every supermarket stocks Gruyere cheese. If you spotted Gruyere cheese, make sure it is AOC certified – you would be able to see the Le Gruyere Switzerland branding on the cheese rind.
***Beside black pepper, you can even try out freshly grated nutmeg, chilli flakes and so on.
****You can bake the frozen gougeres straight from the freezer (no need to defrost). You might just need to bake about 1-2 minutes longer.