I am not exactly sure how to say the word gourgeres, but I can tell you exactly how they taste. Are you ready? ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! What are they, you ask? FABULOUS! Ok, I will be serious now. I have become obsessed with wanting to make these ever since I found the recipe for them. They are warm bites of deliciousness. So light and airy and cheesy. Oh so cheesy. Look at them! Aren’t they beautiful?!
This post will be the first in a three part series/study of pate choux dough. I have always been fascinated by it. Gourgeres are a simple presentation of the use of pate choux dough. They easy to bake puffs, made with milk, flour, water, butter and eggs. What makes them extraordinary is the cheese that gets stirred in before baking and the magic that happens in the oven. Gourgees are used in France as an appetizer, just a nibble to get the wine flowing and the party started. This recipe is so easy you could have a party every night.
I found this recipe in Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan. This is the second recipe I am featuring from this book. This book is a sound investment. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes are easy to follow. Dorie tested the recipes a number of times using French and American ingredients in case you don’t have access to one or the other. She tells tales of how she came to each recipe and what the inspirations were behind them. My pages in the book are already becoming crinkled and I have only made two of the recipes. That is the true sign of a cookbook that is loved.
To make this recipe successful there are few key notes. 1. Make sure you have all the ingredients premeasured and ready. The recipe doesn’t take that long to make and each step is crucial. 2. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. If your eggs are really cold when you add them into the flour butter mixture they will bring down the temperature of the mix and it won’t mix in properly. 3. Don’t be alarmed when you are beating the eggs into the flour mixtures and your dough separates a little. Just keep adding your eggs one at a time and by the end of the last egg the dough will come together and become smooth. Knowing these easy tricks should make your attempt at gourgeres a successful one!
Oh and here is the best thing! You can freeze these! Once you pull them out of the oven let them come to room temperature. Leave them on the pan and put it right into the freezer. When they are frozen you can then put them into a Ziploc freezer bag with a date on them and you are ready to go for the next party. All you have to do is put them straight into the oven from the freezer and warm them up!
Now you guys have no excuses why you can’t make these fancy French biscuits. It really is a very simple process and I hope everybody tries these. Use your imagination about what to put in them. You could use bits of ham or bacon. All of the different fresh herbs would be fantastic and you can change them with season. Be inventive! If anybody decides to make these take a picture of them and send them to me. I would love to see them!
1/2 cup whole milk (vitamin D)
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated cheese such as Gruyere or cheddar- I used smoked Gruyere and English cheddar
1. Make sure the racks in the oven are an equal distance apart from each other and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t have that you can use foil sprayed lightly with nonstick spray.
2. Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy bottom sauce pan over high heat.
3. Add the flour all at once, turn the heat to medium-low and start stirring like a crazy person with a wooden spoon or heavy duty whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring with zest and vigor for another minute to dry out the dough.
4. Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl that can be used with an electric hand mixer. Or a bowl that you can exercise your arm and a wooden spoon.
5. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat the dough after each addition until the egg is absorbed into the dough. Make sure you incorporate each egg fully before adding the next egg. This step might take a little extra effort but it is all worth it.
6. Beat in the grated cheese until completely mixed in.
7. Once the dough is made you need to spoon it into mounds right away. Use the two tablespoon method to help yourself spoon the dough onto the prepared pans. Scoop up a tablespoon of dough and use the other spoon to push it off onto the pan.
8. Leave two inches space between the mounds of dough.
9. Put both pans in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes and then flip the trays. Put the top tray on the bottom shelf and vise versa. When you are flipping the pans, be sure to rotate them as well. This ensures that the gourgeres bake evenly.
10. Once the pans are flipped, continue baking for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and the gourgeres are all puffed up.
Serve warm or cool to room temperature.