CHEESE GOUGÈRES WITH A MUSHROOM FILLING
Most dishes from the Burgundy region of France are either cooked using wine or are designed to bring out the best qualities of wine. Gougères belong to the latter and are traditionally served during wine tastings in the cellars of Burgundy.
The addition of cubes of small pork or bacon, mushrooms and glazed button onions are a sign of a Burgundian dish, and as an extra nod to the region we have chosen to fill our gougères with a mushroom filling. This brings a wonderful earthy and umami flavour that makes the already addictive cheese puffs even more delectable.
THE CHEESE GOUGÈRES
½ tsp Salt
150g Plain Flour, whisked to prevent lumps
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Mustard Powder (optional)
175g Gruyère or Comté Cheese, finely grated
1 Egg, beaten for egg wash (optional).
THE MUSHROOM FILLING
75g Button Mushrooms, finely diced
1 Small Shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp White Wine
150ml Creme Fraiche
2 tsp Thyme Leaves
Salt and Pepper, to season
If you are short on time you can forgo the mushroom filling as the gougères will be delicious on their own. We’d argue that the filling makes them even more tasty though.
THE MUSHROOM FILLING
- Start by dicing the mushrooms and shallot.
- Add half of the butter to a pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add in the mushrooms and cook until the mushroom’s water content has evaporated and they are dry and slightly darker in colour.
- Add the rest of the butter followed by the shallots and thyme leaves, and sweat the shallots over low heat until they are soft and slightly translucent.
- Add in the wine, season with salt and pepper and cook further until the mixture is dry.
- Take off the heat and place in a bowl. Stir in the crème fraîche and mix well. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Using a blender, blend the mixture into a smooth consistency. This will enable you to pipe the mixture into the gougères more easily and without little pieces getting stuck in the piping tip. Place the mixture into a piping bag and set aside until ready to pipe.
TIP – To easily fill your piping bag, first attach a small piping tip to the bag and place the bag into a tall glass, turning the cuff of the bag over the rim of the glass. Then, scrape the filling into the bag and twist the end tightly.
If you do not have a piping bag, don’t worry, you can cut the gougères in two and simply spoon the filling into the centre of the gougères.
THE CHEESE GOUGÈRES
- Preheat your oven to 220˚C/ 200˚C fan oven and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Place the butter cut into cubes, water and salt into a sauce pan, over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until the butter has melted.
- Take the pan off the heat and add in the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a paste.
- Place the pan back on a low heat and stir until the dough comes together in a ball. This should take about two minutes, the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the pan, and start to form a thin layer on the base of the pan.
- Take off the heat, and place the dough in a large mixing bowl to allow it to cool down. Next, beat the dough for about five minutes using a hand mixer (or elbow grease). This will help cool down the dough further and activate the gluten in the flour.
- One at a time, beat four eggs into the dough, beating thoroughly between each one, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. The final texture should be a smooth and shiny dough that reluctantly falls off the spoon in a v-shape when you tap the spoon on the edge of the bowl.
- At this point, add in the nutmeg, mustard powder and about four-fifths of the grated cheese.
- Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch or 12mm round tip. You can also use a resealable bag and cut off the corner. Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheets to tablespoon-size or walnut -sized mounds leaving about 3cm between each of them.
- To add a little colour to your finished gougères you can whisk an egg and brush on the pipped gougères, before sprinkling with the remaining grated cheese.
- Place in the oven and turn the heat down to 200˚C/ 180˚C fan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Once they have cooled down, pipe them with the mushroom filling, by inserting a small piping nozzle in the bottom part of the gougères and slowly squeeze with steady pressure until filled to the brim. You’ll know when the gougères are filling up as they’ll feel heavier.
TIP – You can warm the gougères through by placing them in a hot oven (about 175˚C/160˚C fan) for 5-10 minutes before serving.
If you want to get ready ahead of time, gougères freeze really well. Once they have cooled completely, place them in the freezer on a flat surface. Once firm, transfer to a resealable bag back into the freezer, where you can keep them for several months.