These savory cheese puffs sure hit the spot today. Sitting in front of our radient heater, popping one after another into our mouths, David and I agreed that the only way to [reasonably] make this chilly day better would be the addition of a steaming bowl of tomato soup. What I love most about gougères — after their flavor and texture — is that they easily span several classifications. First, they’re French — elegant, classic. Next, perfect party fare — an impressive, tasty nibble to serve at your next holiday get-together. And finally, comfort food — hot, cheesy pastry is hard to resist.
I based this recipe on the pâte à choux used for the éclair bites with vanilla bean pastry cream and salted chocolate ganache, eliminating the vanilla and sugar, increasing the salt and adding a pinch of pepper along with a generous helping of finely shredded Cotswold — an intense, semi-firm, cheddar-like cheese with a double dose of onion flavor hailing from England. The only change I would make next time: doubling the quantity — the two dozen puffs went quickly!
Small Batch Cotswold Gougères
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 25 – 30 minutes
Makes: 2 dozen
- 15 grams (2 tablespoons) millet flour
- 15 grams (2 tablespoons) garbanzo fava flour
- 12 grams (1 tablespoon) potato starch
- 8 grams (1 tablespoon) arrowroot starch
- 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) water
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) whole milk
- 43 grams (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ounces finely shredded Cotswold cheese¹
Place oven rack on the center level, preheat to 375°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together millet flour through black pepper. In a small saucepan (2-quart) over medium-high heat, combine water, milk and butter. Warm, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture comes to a simmer.
While pan is still on the heat, add the flour mixture to the hot water mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth, stiff paste (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and scrape the dough into the stand mixer bowl that held the flour.
Break one of the eggs into the paste, beat on medium-high speed (with the paddle attachment) until it’s smooth and kind of sticky looking (takes a couple minutes). Scrape down bowl, break the remaining egg into the paste, and beat again until blended, thick and sticky (this is what it should look like). Scrape down bowl, and beat in shredded cheese until evenly distributed (about 30 seconds).
Spoon small, level cookie scoops (1 tablespoon) of paste onto prepared pan, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Place pan in oven and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 325°F and bake for up to 5 minutes more, or until nicely browned and somewhat dry on the inside. Remove from oven and serve immediately!
¹ Available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc. I used a Microplane zester/grater to shred the cheese so it would mix into the choux pastry really well. (Note: it’s not a super firm cheese like Parmesan, so it can be a bit annoying.) You can see where a couple larger pieces snuck through, they’re the dark red-brown spots on a few of the baked puffs.