When my husband and I were first married 15 years ago, I tried my hand at gougères – baked savory French pastry puffs made from choux dough and grated cheese. I followed Julia Child’s Petits Choux au Fromage recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and my gougères were not puffy or airy. To the contrary, mine were golden lumps of super dense pasty dough (read hockey pucks).
Earlier this year my family and I attended a dinner party at a French restaurant and the wait staff passed around gougères. My daughter was popping them in her mouth like a 7 year old would eat candy and the kind waiter brought out a plate just for her. She has since been asking me to make the “cheese balls” from the party. As my first (and only) attempt at making gougères was an epic fail, I wasn’t in a hurry.
Today was my daughter’s lucky day. She asked me to make “cheese balls” and I finally had the courage to give it another try. I googled gougères recipes and found that 99% of the them are exactly the same. What drew me to Emma Christensen’s recipe on The Kitchn website were the clear instructions and beautiful photographs and that she did not use a pastry bag to pipe out the dough. Instead, she dropped rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet. There is nothing intimidating about this recipe.
The gougères were so quick and easy to prepare and when I pulled them out of the oven, they were puffy, light, airy and delicious. From the photos above, my gougères turned out a little more “free form” than Ms. Christensen’s. When I serve these to guests I may make more of an effort to make them prettier (i.e. rounder and smaller), but today they were made for just my daughter and me.
I usually adapt recipes to my tastes, but there is nothing to change in Emma Christensen’s recipe or methodology. Here is the link: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cheese-gougres-169039