Gougeres have been described as savory cream puffs without the cream. Or you can think of them as free-form eggy popovers. There are countless recipes out there for them, which is interesting since they only have 6 ingredients, basically. Some books (like Joy of Cooking) make them sound really hard to make, but I haven't found that to be the case at all - the one important factor seems to be (like in the case of popovers) to have a really hot oven. It's always a good idea to check the accuracy of your oven with an oven thermometer if you can. Also, if you set the oven about 25 degrees over the suggested temperature, and then turn it down to the correct temperature once the gougeres are in the oven, you can be sure that you haven't lost heat by opening and closing the oven door. This works with any kind of baking. Other than that, you just need a strong arm to stir the batter. I'm wondering if you could do this in a stand mixer - I just got one recently, so I don't know all of the possibilities yet, but it seems like you could.
This particular recipe for gougeres is from my book Whining and Dining by Emma Waverman and Eshun Mott. It's a nice simple recipe that has worked for me consistently.
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Gruyere or other hard cheese (I, of course, use extra-sharp cheddar)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine milk, butter and salt in a medium pot over medium heat until butter is melted. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately remove pot from heat; add flour and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Reduce heat to low. Return the pot to the stove and beat for another 30 seconds or until dough has formed a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Beat 4 of the eggs into dough, one at a time, beating well to incorporate before adding the next one. The resulting dough should be shiny and soft. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Use a soup spoon to scoop batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making 8 to 10 mounds, each 2 inches in diameter. Beat remaining egg and brush over top of gougeres. Sprinkle tops with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until gougeres are brown, crisp and cracked. Turn down oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes to dry them out so they don't collapse when removed from the oven.