Gougères are magic. You whisk together a very simple batter — a little milk, flour, eggs, and cheese — and then use a pastry bag to pipe fluffy mounds of it onto a baking tray. Easy, no? But they come out of the oven very puffy, like a cross between a popover and a cheese soufflé — light as a cloud, packed with cheesy flavor, and just the right size to pop in your mouth. That’s a dangerous trifecta: in the test kitchen, people kept coming back for “just one more,” and our gougères disappeared in a few ecstatic minutes.
Gougères will be splendid at any kind of New Year’s Eve party because they’re so tonally neutral — they have all the gleeful appeal of a really, really good snack and all the pillowy gravitas of a fancy appetizer. They also happen to taste amazing with a bottle of sparkling wine. We paired ours with J Cuvée 20 Brut from J Vineyards: its light bubbles, green apple notes, and bright finish are just the thing to clear the way for another (and another, and another) gougère.
Servings: 28 gougères
½ cup water
½ cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Large pinch kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 Large Gelson’s eggs
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese, plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, and salt and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the flour, and stir it in with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Lower the heat, and stir until the dough dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and cool for 1 minute.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between each one.
Add the cheese and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag, cut a 1/2-inch wide opening at the tip, and pipe tablespoon-size dollops onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. If you have batter peaks, dip your finger in a little water and smooth them down.
Lightly sprinkle with cheese and bake for 22 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Go easy on the cheese: too much will weigh down the gougères.
Transfer the gougères to a plate and serve hot.
Recipe source: Food&Wine