gougères – french cheese puffs

Originally posted: August 2008

unbaked puff with cheese on top

baked cheese puff

In my moment of desperation, I decided to bake a cake. Okay, that doesn’t make sense to most people but I was hungry, had to settle dinner and felt like eating a sour cream pear and walnut cake – the best cake I’ve ever eaten. But alas, too many ingredients and too much pondering over who to eat the remainder after I’ve had my one slice. So anyway, I’ve been frequenting Cooking Ninja’s fab blog and trying to find the chance to try out some french recipes. I don’t have this absolute love for french cuisine (think butter, cheese, cream…) probably due to the lack of love towards their dairy ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese, but just not too much of it. The cheese puffs stuck out while flipping through my book of printed recipes. I had all the ingredients at home, just needed to get a few more eggs and a little more milk. Hopped downstairs to the provision shop and was all set to go. I followed most of Cooking Ninja’s advice and added all the eggs in at once though I know the reason they probably want you to add it in one at a time is to help get the batter nice and shiny (this is from my warm chocolate cake experience). I also used an electric hand-held mixer like she said. I think only if you want an arm workout would a wooden spoon be used, especially for the last mix. The batter should turn out nice and smooth (albeit not that shiny because we mixed in the eggs all at once).

I ate 10 at one go, not recommended. But because they were my dinner, I ate and ate. And then I realised at midnight that I might have a sore throat. Too many puffs perhaps. Anyway, please share them because with 8 eggs inside, there isn’t anything good about the cholesterol level.

Gougères – French Cheese Puffs

Recipe from Cooking Ninja

Makes about 40 puffs

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 egg (for glazing, optional) (I didn’t do this, neither did Cooking Ninja)
  • 500 ml milk
  • 120g butter
  • 250g flour
  • 200 g gruyere or comte or any strong flavoured cheese (CN says old cheddar would do, I used cheap cheddar, not that great so I would think a stronger cheese would be best)
  • 2 tbsp thick cream (optional and doesn’t make a difference according to CN)
  • 5g salt
  • a pinch of pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut the cheese in small cubes/dice. (Mine was shredded so no need)
  3. Put the butter, milk, salt and pepper in a pot and bring to boil.
  4. Once boiled, remove pan from the heat and add in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon till the mixture is smooth and satiny. (I used the electric hand-held mixer in place of the wooden spoon from here onwards.)
  5. Put the pot back on heat (hot), stir it vigorously till the dough doesn’t stick to the pot or the wooden spoon. This is to dry the mixture.
  6. Take it off the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
  7. Stir in the eggs one at a time without stopping OR just add in all 8 eggs at once and mix until incorporated.
  8. Mix in 125g cheese to the dough mixture and stir till it is well blended.
  9. Add in cream (optional) and mix it well.
  10. Drop one level tablespoon of mixture at each time (space them out) onto the baking paper on a baking tray. You can brush a bit of battered egg on top of each ball then sprinkle some more cheese on the top. (Like I said before, I didn’t do the glaze).
  11. Bake in oven for approximately 20 min.
  12. They should be golden brown, crunchy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. Eat warm or at room temperature. Be careful not to overcook them.
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