Cheesy GougèresCourse: Soups, starters & sides, Veggie / Vegan
These Cheesy Gougères are the most moreish canapés and good to have on standby in the freezer.
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon mustard powder
a good pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
a good grinding each of black pepper and nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
150g Comté (or Gruyère) cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7
- Sift the flour, mustard powder, cayenne pepper and salt into a bowl. Stir in the black pepper and nutmeg. Heat the water and butter slowly over a low heat in a (preferably non-stick) saucepan until the butter has melted, then bring it to a rolling boil. Add the flour, remove from the heat and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan having formed a stiff smooth dough. Either transfer to a mixing bowl or put into a food processor. Leave to cool slightly.
- Gradually beat the eggs into the pastry mixture until it turns from a dough to a paste and has a dropping consistency (when it falls from the shaken spoon reluctantly, leaving a V shape hanging from the spoon). You may not need all the egg. This is most easily done in a processor. Reserve roughly 1 tablespoon of Comté and stir in the rest or, if using a processor, incorporate it by pulsing gently.
- Line two baking sheets with silicone or baking paper and secure at each corner with a tiny dot of the choux. Using two teaspoons dollop marble-sized blobs of the choux 3cm apart (or pipe, using a disposable piping bag). Scatter with the reserved cheese.
- Put into the oven and turn the temperature down to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Cook for 20 minutes or until crisp, puffed and golden brown (too pale and they may sink later, too dark and the cheese becomes bitter). You may need to remove some cooked puffs from the tray and then put any paler ones back into the oven for a little longer. Serve whilst still warm (not piping hot) or transfer to a cooling rack if re-heating.
- GET AHEAD: Prepare to the end of Step 4 up to a day ahead, cover loosely and chill, or freeze. The puffs can be cooked straight from the fridge or freezer. For the latter, allow a little extra time in the oven, but keep an eye on them. The gougères can be made to the end of Step 5 several days in advance and stored in an airtight container, or frozen. Re-heat for around 4 minutes at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
- OTHER SUGGESTIONS: A batch or two of these are handy to have in the freezer for pulling a few out as and when you need them. Larger gougères make a delicious starter or lunch stuffed with any number of savoury fillings. To fill, make a small hole in the side and pipe in the filling or, slice the top off, fill and replace the lid or, halve and fill each half individually. This quantity makes around 12 larger gougères. They will take a little longer to cook, but watch them! Suggested fillings – crab, mayo, chilli flakes; chicken liver pâté; diced tomato, chilli & basil salsa. Avocado & chopped crispy streaky bacon. Mini gougères are delicious served as a savoury after dinner instead of cheese.
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