One would think that a teeny tiny patch of daffodils in a sea of towering oaks and showy succulents would be lost in my garden but this is not the case at all. Right about the time I start feeling like winter has overstayed its welcome those daffodils spring up, each year an unbroken promise of warmer, sunnier days ahead.
They’re in my line of sight from my favorite perch in the kitchen and as soon as they make their appearance my thoughts about food turn lighter and brighter, too.
These gougères are my way of welcoming the new season in my kitchen. These savory puffs are light, airy, cheesy, herby. Perfect out of the oven, they are best popped in your mouth while still warm, chased down with a sip of bubbly or rosé.
Traditionally, gougères are made with gruyère (or comté) and chives but I had something a little different in mind this time. I used gouda and dill and made them a little bigger. With cheese and herbs they need no accompaniment but I couldn’t resist using them as vessels for smoked salmon, crème fraîche and capers. I prepared these puffs as a trial run for some upcoming spring get-togethers with my girlfriends but they also earned my husband’s approval. And while this may be doubtful, if you should have leftover gougères freeze them. They reheat well in the oven and taste like new again. Add them to your party arsenal and you’ll never look back.
Here are more gougère recipes in the archives:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup gouda (or gruyere or comte), grated, loosely packed
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Cold-Smoked Salmon
- Crème fraîche (French sour cream)
- (Not pictured but you can also add sliced shallots and lemon juice)
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- For the choux pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. Pour water into a medium saucepan, add butter and salt and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure the butter has melted before the mixture comes to a boil.
- Reduce your heat to medium and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the flour stops clinging to the sides of the pan and starts to form a ball around the spatula. This will take 30-40 seconds. The goal is also to evaporate as much water as possible without scorching the pastry. Remove from heat and allow to cool for three minutes. You can transfer the pastry to a bowl or keep it in the pot and stir a few times to expedite the cooling.
- Add the eggs one at a time to the pastry. Stir the mixture until the egg has blended completely with the pastry before adding the next one.
- Fold the cheese and garlic into the pastry. There are three ways to form the balls. My favorite (and the easiest) is to use a small ice cream scoop. The second is to use two spoons to form the round balls. The third is to use a piping bag. You can make the balls anywhere between 1¼ inch - 2 inches in diameter. Drop the balls on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them until they're golden. For the smaller puffs baking time will be 20-25 minutes. For these larger ones, 25-30 minutes at 400ºF in a convection oven. Without convection you can bake at 425ºF with the same baking time. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time and check for doneness 5-8 minutes before the low range of the baking time.
- Turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for about five minutes to finish the gougères. (See Note regarding baking time.)
- The gougères can be served out of the oven as-is or as smoked salmon sandwiches.
2. The baked gougères can be frozen and can be reheated at 400ºF for 5-7 minutes.