Making gougères!

Alright so I was quite bored the other day and decided to bake, because that’s what I do.

You probably know the French pastry “chouquette” under the name of “choux pastry”, you know, those little moist balls of delight topped with sugar – or also filled with cream, or ice-cream and all other enemies of fit legs.
Anywho, a little  treat once in a while is totally acceptable and possible with what I am about to show you because it has nothing to do with that batch of cupcakes that you just made and which smell amazing, horribly tempting you until you stuffed your face with all of them. No Mister! (Miss? Mrs?)

I didn’t make chouquettes by the way, but a savoury variation of it that us French call “gougères”. They’re basically cheesy chouquettes, without the sugar on top of course! And what is amazingly practical about them is that one step before the baking step, you can save some in the freezer and just take three or four out whener and cook them in the oven! So they’re also a great last minute appetiser if you’re hosting a dinner party or want to accompany drinks with something delicious for everyone to nibble.

Here’s what they look like!!! :D

Makes you salivate doesn’t it? And see! I only cooked four! The rest is nicely waiting in the freezer ;)

What you will need:

-1/2 cup of water (230mL)
-about 50g of butter
-a nice good pinch of salt
-1/2 cup of flour (65g)
-3 eggs
-3/4 cups of grated cheese: I used French gruyères and comté but you could also use cheddar I guess (it wouldn’t have the same French kick though) or any other dry cheese
-fleur de sel or crushed rock salt for garnish
-other garnish goods: thyme, poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc etc.

The recipe:

Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F).

First step: you will need the water, butter, salt.
In a saucepan, make the butter melt in the salted water until it reaches a boil.

Next step! Grab your flour, eggs and cheese.
Turn down the heat and toss in the flour. Mix well! You’lll see, at first you get something like this, that looks awful.
Keep mixing! Make those biceps work! And there you are, a nice glossy pretty looking dough.
You’ll have to remove the saucepan from the heat at this point and beat the eggs one at a time until your dough is well combined.
My eggs had the most orange yolk EVER!
You can finally add in your cheese and mix mix mix!

Here’s the annoying potentially messy part: the piping! I’ve bought tons and tons of piping bags, tried different techniques, spent the time it takes to wash the piping bags; and one day! Waitrose changed my life!
You buy about ten (so you get ten times) of them for a couple of quid! Better than a more expensive piping bag that you will use three, maybe four times and then have to throw it away.

Fill in the piping bag with the cheesy dough.
Cut the end of the bag with some scissors; you don’t want neither a tiny nor a big hole, just enough for the dough to slip out easily in a nice shape.
Then, you pipe!! Form little ten pie sized balls on baking parchment, in a circular movement from the outside to inside and you end up with this!
Now, here’s a good tip from Beth on Entertaining with Beth: dip a teaspoon in cold water and press the little picks with it so you get a nice round shape on top of you cheesy balls. This is really important!
Once that’s done, all that is left to do is garnish it with whatever you like! I crushed some rock salt and used thyme and poppy seeds.
These ones are the one I put in the freezer. Of course, use baking parchment and freeze them as they are, on the plate. Once they’re all hard, you can take them off of the plate and lock them in a zip bag ;) When it’s time to cook! Pop them in the oven until they’re golden which should take about 25min.
For the batch that is not frozen, bake the gougeres for 15min, or again, until they look golden!

Et voila voila!