For those not yet familiar, Gougères are a classic French appetiser of savoury baked choux pastry flavoured with cheese. Basically, they’re little cheese puffs. And they’re absolutely fantastic.
We have discovered they are also a wonderful way to use up the last odds and ends of any cheese you might have. Fancy doing something a little different with those last scraps from your cheeseboard? Try making these insanely moreish little balls of goodness – they are the perfect appetiser for your next get-together.
115g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Large pinch of salt
4 large eggs
100g, plus extra for topping, leftover cheeseboard cheese (we used a mix of cheddar, stilton and brie)
A few sprigs of fresh herbs leftover, rosemary, sage and chives, or 1-2 teaspoons of dried herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme all work well)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
2. Combine the butter, water, milk and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and add the flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon energetically until a thick dough forms and clumps into a ball. Remove from the heat and stir until the dough for 1 to 2 minutes, until it pulls away from the pan.
3. Transfer the dough into a bowl and allow to cool down for a few minutes. One at a time, beat the eggs into the dough, beating thoroughly between each one, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mixture will look curdled at first but continue the process and it will eventually come together. The final texture should be a smooth and shiny dough with a pipeable consistency.
4. At this point, add the cheese, cut herbs and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg. Mix gently until evenly incorporated.
5. 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 mounds leaving about 2 inches or 3cm between each of them.
6. Sprinkle each with the rest of the cheese and bake for 22 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. You can serve them immediately with a little cranberry sauce for dipping. Alternatively, if making them in advance you can leave them to cool and refrigerate them. Reheat in the oven at 175°C for a few minutes until warm.
TIP If you have made extra Cheese Gougères, don’t worry as they freeze 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.