French Cheese Puffs aka Gougères aka Pâte à Choux

French Cheese Puffs aka Gougères aka Pâte à Choux

Like little bite-size popovers, these light and cheesy snacks are just fun to eat!

Gougères make a warm and comforting appetizer or snack, but I also like to serve them with something creamy like Squash BisqueCatalan Chickpea & Spinach Soup, or Roasted Cauliflower Soup.  Your family and friends don’t need to know how easy they are to make.  Just sit back and enjoy the ooohs and aaaahs.

The dough used to create gougères is also called pâte à choux or choux pastry.  It is the basis for several French pastries including éclairs.  While it bakes, the dough puffs up creating a pocket of air with a lovely crisp exterior and a tender interior.  Yummm!

If these look good to you, and they should because they are, then I urge you to give this recipe a whirl.  Here is all that you will need.

Cheese Gougères
Adapted from a recipe by David Leibovitz

Print-Friendly Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 24 chives, finely-minced (don’t have chives, try scallions)
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces, 180g) grated cheese like Gruyère (See Note)

NOTE:  You can use all sorts of cheese in this recipe.  I think that the more sharp or distinctive cheeses work best.  You can also use a cheese blend.  For instance, a little parmesan cheese in place of some of the gruyère would also be very yummy.  Sharp cheddar, aged gouda or any number of other intensely flavored hard cheeses would work really well.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat the water, butter, salt, and cayenne in a saucepan until the butter is melted, don’t let it simmer or boil because you will lose too much water.

Dump in the flour all at once and continue to cook, stirring vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball.  Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.

Transfer the flour and butter ball to the bowl of a standing mixer.  Turn it on and add the eggs, one at a time.  The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out and become glossy and gorgeous.

Add all the chives and about 75% of the gruyère and stir until well-mixed.

The dough will be kind of gooey at this point, so piping it onto your baking sheet is the best option. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner cut out (that’s what I use).  Pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart about the size of a rounded tablespoon.  Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese.

At this point, you could refrigerate the dough on the sheet for several hours before baking.  You could also freeze the dough on the sheet and then transfer the frozen mounds to a ziplock bag to store for up to three months.

About half an hour before you want to serve these.  Pop them into a hot oven at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes (12 if you are baking from frozen), then turn the oven down to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

Print-Friendly Recipe