I believe everybody is familiar with the savory cheese version of cream puffs. The technique is the same, and it’s not complicated. The only problem these little appetizers present is a possible overindulging; it’s difficult to eat just a few. This particular recipe is from the mentioned earlier Gale Gand’s “Brunch!” How are these gougères different? She added a bit of Dijon mustard to the choux (such a lovely touch), brushed the freshly baked gougères with a mixture of garlic-infused melted butter and fresh chopped parsley and then sprinkled them with Parmesan (maybe the latter makes the gougères a little bit less authentic but, dare I say, even tastier).
Makes about 4 dozens
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Gruyère
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (put about 1/8 tsp instead, if serving to kids)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Position a rack in the top third of the oven, and heat the oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Heat the milk and 4 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. When the mixture is simmering and the butter is melted, remove from the heat and add the flour, salt, and pepper all at once. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Return the pan to medium heat and stir hard for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens further and becomes stiff.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for a minute to cool the dough slightly. Break the eggs into a liquid measuring cup or a bowl, lightly whisk with a fork. Add the eggs gradually, in 4-5 additions beating well after each portion has been added to incorporate it into the dough. Remove the bowl from the mixer base. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cheese, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, and cayenne and mix until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a large plain tip. The mixture will still be warm.
Pipe the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in mounds about 1 inch in diameter, leaving a couple of inches between them. Smooth out any points with a wet finger.
Unbaked gougères can be frozen on the baking sheets. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a week.
Put one baking sheet into another to isolate the pastry bottoms from strong heat and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the gougères are well puffed. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F and continue baking until golden brown, 10 to12 minutes more. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet.
If baking the previously frozen pastries, there’s no need to completely defrost them before baking; just let the frozen gougères sit on the baking sheet on a counter while the oven is preheating.
While the gougères are cooling, melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the parsley, swirl the pan, and then remove from the heat. Drizzle (or brush) the garlic-parsley butter over the gougères, and then sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve immediately, while they’re still warm.