I made these cheese puffs on a whim after remembering what a good friend had recently commented about this recipe – it’s so easy and your arm will not break as you stir the paste. The last time I made choux pastry my arm almost fell off and my hand mixer almost died. This time round I had my stand mixer on hand and am glad this recipe had the option to use the stand mixer. The recipe is relatively easy and the results good. I have posted the basic choux pastry recipe but made it with cheese.
Basic Choux Pastry
Makes about 24 puffs
(taken from Ratio, by Micheal Ruhlman, p. 47-48)
- 8 ounces water
- 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces flour
- 8 ounces eggs (or 4 large eggs)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Bring the water, butter and salt to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour, and stir rapidly. The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.
- Remove your pan from the heat and let it cool slightly, a few minutes. The paste needs to be warm to hot but not too hot that the eggs will cook.
- You can do this step by hand or in a stand mixer. Add the eggs in one at a time. The paste will go from shiny to flat, slippery to furry, when the eggs are fully in.
- On a parchment or Silpat, spoon out or pipe golf ball sized portions.
- Wet your finger with water or milk to smooth out the tops. Peaks can burn.
- Place the puffs in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350ºF and cook for 10-20 minutes longer, until done. Taste or cut into one to check if they are done. My puffs took about 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and filling them.
- You can also freeze the puffs and use them when needed. To reheat, place in microwave first for about a minute before transferring to the toaster oven.
To make cheese puffs (gougères), add in 1.5 teaspoons of salt instead of the 1/2 teaspoon and add 1/2 cup of Parmesan or Gruyere cheese after mixing in the eggs.
You can also add in some black pepper and herbs to create a savoury canapé version of the cheese puffs.