Homemade gougères, or French cheese puffs, are a quick and elegant way to start a meal. I love baking these pretty little puffs from a basic choux pastry and watching them rise in the oven to a light, hollow little ball of cheesy goodness.Cream puffs and gougères are made from the same traditional French pâte à choux (choux pastry). Making cheese puffs is a walk in the park and the final result is nothing less than stunning. It’s so effortless, in fact, that a group of French girls who couchsurfed with us a few years ago baked these as part of a “thank you” meal in literally minutes. That was my introduction to a love affair with gougères!
We’ll melt butter in a pot with water and salt and then use some serious elbow grease to stir in flour and remaining ingredients. Then we’ll pipe the cheesy bits of heaven onto a lined cookie sheet (or use teaspoons) and watch those delicious morsels puff right up into the most delicious cheese puffs you’ve ever made.I strayed from the typical Gruyère cheese and opted for Maasdam because it was more affordable. You can use most types of aged cheeses- drier cheeses work best, but you can also use sharp cheddar in a pinch. This recipe is adapted from my beloved David Lebovitz, who knows his way around a French kitchen.
- ½ cup water
- 3 T. butter, cubed
- ¼ t. salt
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 t. fresh thyme
- ¾ cup grated Maasdam cheese or sharp aged cheese
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
- Add water, salt, and butter to a small pot over medium heat and cook until butter is melted.
- Quickly pour in flour and stir like mad until the dough comes together and comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let rest 2 minutes.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously so the eggs don’t cook from the heat of the dough. Alternatively, you can plop the dough into a food processor and let it take care of the hard work. Stir until dough becomes smooth. It takes a few minutes.
- Stir thyme and three quarters of the grated cheese into the dough. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe small mounds onto the prepared cookie sheet. You could also opt to use teaspoons to mound the dough.
- Sprinkle dough balls with cheese and bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 375F and continue baking for 20-25 minutes until the puffs are completely golden. Underbaked puffs tend to deflate. Cool and serve to an eager audience!
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