The following recipe makes approximately 30 (3″) gougères. [goo zhers]
Pâte à choux (choux pastry)
1 cup Gruyere, Comte, Swiss or Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 teaspoons of any (all) of the following (or other) seasonings: cayenne pepper, dried mustard, thyme, rosemary
Heat the oven to 375 – 400 degrees.
Make a batch of choux pastry per the recipe above, but do not put it into a pastry bag. Set aside about a tablespoon of the choux pastry. To the remainder of the choux pastry, add the cheese, seasonings, salt and pepper.
Using the reserved choux pastry, place little dabs along the edge of a large baking sheet/jelly roll pan, then place a piece of parchment paper on the pan, pressing down so it sticks to the dabs of choux pastry. This will hold down the parchment paper when the gougères bake.
Put the choux pastry into a pastry bag fitted with a #5 tip (See “Using Pastry Bags” below). Pipe the choux pastry into small tall rounds to create the gougères. Brush each gougère with egg wash, then make light fork marks on each gougère. Here is approximately how the piped gougères should look:
Bake the gougères in a hot oven (375 – 400 degrees) for approximately 15 – 18 minutes (but it could take up to 20 or 22 minutes). Do not open the oven during this time. Look for browning. After a few more minutes check for firming. Once nicely browned and firm, the gougères are ready to take out of the oven. Here is what baked gougères look like, outside and inside:
– This is not a hard and fast recipe, meaning feel free to play around with the cheese types, cheese amounts and seasonings. When choosing cheese types and seasonings, keep in mind how you will be serving the gougères and with what.
– Freeze the gougères if they aren’t being eaten right away. Put the baked gougères in a box or plastic storage bag. They may be frozen for up to three months. When ready to use, bring back in a 300 degree oven until ice crystals dissolve.
Using Pastry Bags
– Always use a bigger pastry bag than you think you will need. I bought 12″ pastry bags at Sur la Table – way too small.
– To prepare the bag, cut off the tip and insert the pastry tip (#5 tip for choux buns) into the cut end. Twist the bag right above the large end of the tip and stuff the twisted bag into the tip. This keeps the dough from coming out while you fill the bag.
– To fill the bag, roll down the bag about halfway to make a cuff, then fill the bag half full with the choux paste. Twist the bag at the top. This is now a “locked” pastry bag.
– Hold the bag in the palm of your hand and gently press. The bag will expand out from the tip (where it was twisted) while that end fills with dough. Slowly continue to press the dough out into the bun shapes.