I love choux pastry, from the process of making it to eating the choux buns and other delights it is used for: profiteroles, eclairs, Paris-Brest, chouquettes, croquembouches, gougères and many other recipes.
Once you master the basic recipe, the choux world is your oyster. But first, let me tell you I had my fair share of trials and errors so if it does not work for you the first time, keep trying! One of my mistakes once was to add the extra egg yolk (meant for brushing the choux buns before baking) in the dough making process. It resulted in flat round puddles of cooked choux buns on my baking tray, they just looked ridiculous. So I laughed it off and sandwiched them two by two with pastry cream and drizzled the chocolate sauce on top, maybe I should have called them macaroneroles!
Eventually, it became easy and I started making choux pastry for many occasions or just because I felt like it (midweek chouquettes for afternoon tea are such a lovely thing).
One of the recipes I like making with it is a savoury version: gougères.
For this recipe, I chose gruyère as a grated cheese and sprinkled them with fresh rosemary leaves. Sometimes, I would swap the gruyère for Comté or some delicious Irish Coolea cheese.
Pack them in an airtight container and they will also be a perfect picnic treat or ideal for a snack on a flight (if, like me, you are not a fan of food served on planes).
Check the blog out in the next few weeks as I will add some other choux pastry delights.
Ingredients (make approximately 40 mini gougères)
250ml cold water
75g diced unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
1/2 teaspoon salt
150g sifted plain flour
100g grated gruyère cheese (plus extra for sprinkling - optional)
1 egg yolk (for brushing)
1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC. Line two large baking trays with baking paper and grease with a bit of butter.
Pour the cold water in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the salt and diced butter. Slowly bring to the boil.
2. When the butter has completely melted, take the saucepan off the heat and pour in all the flour in one go. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients vigourously.
Put the saucepan back over a low heat and continue mixing until the dough is dry enough to detach itself from the sides of the pan. Let it cool down for one minute.
3. Add the eggs one by one. Mix the dough thoroughly after each egg before adding the next one. The dough should be firm and supple at the same time. Mix in the grated gruyère cheese.
4. Put the dough into a pastry bag and pipe the mini gougères on each of the trays, leaving about 2cm between each as they will puff up.
Beat the egg yolk and brush it over the tops. Sprinkle with some extra gruyère cheese and fresh rosemary leaves.
5. Place the trays on the top and middle shelf of the oven. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 180ºC and leave the oven door ajar (I do so by sticking a wooden spoon at the top to keep it open). The gougères should be puffed and golden. Place them on a wire rack and cool down before serving.