These cheesy choux pastry puffs are one of my great loves of French patisserie and are surprisingly easy to make at home. 

Makes
30

Preparation

10min

Cooking

20min

Skill level

Easy
By
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This particular recipe is based on one from some Tasmanian friends, Roger and Sue, who host magical afternoons in the garden with champagne and gougères fresh from the oven. I mean, it probably helps that they’re French wine importers and never short of a kilo or two of aged Comté. This recipe has stood me in good stead over the years. I’ve made these cheesy choux puffs at many events and at my wine bar, with Tasmanian cheddar at Franklin and with anchovies at wine fairs. The only tricky part is the baking!

Ingredients

  • 220 ml (7½ fl oz) water
  • 110 g (4 oz) butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 180 g (6½ oz) egg, beaten
  • 70 g (2½ oz) Pyengana cheddar (or Comté), finely grated, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

In a large pot, bring the water, butter and salt to a slow simmer over a low heat. Add the flour. Using a spatula, cook on a low heat for 2–3 minutes, or until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.

Transfer to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix slowly for about 2 minutes, letting the mixture cool down slightly so as not to cook the egg. Add the egg a little at a time until fully incorporated, then the cheese. Cover with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming and leave to cool.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and either spoon out or pipe the mixture in small rounds, leaving 4 cm (1½ in) in between each gougère to allow for spreading. Sprinkle the tops with the extra grated cheese. For gougères about 5 cm (2in), they normally take 15 minutes to cook, but you can judge for yourself by checking their rise and colour: they should be golden and highly risen. They’re best eaten right away, fresh from the oven, but they do reheat quite well too.

 

This is an edited extract from How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45. Available in stores nationally.