So French – Gougères with comté cheese and thyme
Si Français – Gougères au comté et thym
These are one of those delicious appetizers that are so good, so easy to make, that everyone loves, but yet, I never think of making them. So I figure by posting them on my blog, it will make me remember that they shall not be forgotten!
Gougères are a specialty from Bourgogne region (you know that region where are produced many great French wines such as Chablis, Côtes de Beaunes, Bourgogne Aligoté, etc…); they’re made with a base of a pâte à choux and cheese. Gougères are either made in individual small balls or even in a large pan like a pie. They can also be stuffed with a béchamel sauce and ham. Either way, they’re always delightful. They make wonderful appetizers, you can also serve them as a side cute addition to a soup, preferably a velouté. They will immediately make your soup very elegant.
Now if we are going further into who invented Pâte à choux…well it seems that an Italian baker called Panterelli brought it over to France when Catherine de Medici arrived around 1540. Then of course, the French contributed to its evolution, and started making profiterolles and other pâte à choux based pastries.
Usually, gougères are made with hard cheeses like gruyère, parmesan or comté, but you can use roquefort, or other strong cheeses. I stayed with a traditional base of comté, but you can play around with the pâte à choux and make it your own.
Ingredients for about 25 medium size gougères
- 1 cup (or 250 ml) water
- 4 eggs (+ 1 yolk)
- 5.30 oz (or 150 g) comté cheese, grated
- 5.30 oz (or 150 g) white flour
- 2.65 oz (or 75 g) butter
- 1 tbs thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
Mix water and butter in a pot and bring to a boil, add salt. Remove from stove and add flour all at once. Mix well to obtain a smooth batter, then place back on low temperature while stirring vigorously until the dough detaches from the sides of the pot and turns into a consistent ball. Remove from heat, and let it cool for a few minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well until the batter becomes smooth. Add cheese, thyme, nutmeg and pepper.
Butter a tray to prevent sticking. Using two teaspoons or a douille, divide all the dough into big walnuts size little piles.
Brush each gougère with beaten yolk and cook in a pre-heated oven at 390F for about 20-30 minutes, until the gougères are golden brown and have risen. Serve hot or at room temperature as apéritif.
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