In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Gougères Recipe


Ultimately, I cook for others because I want to be liked.  If you bring the cake, someone will always be your friend.  So I like to have a few standby, easy to make, crowd pleasing recipes on hand.

Tonight we had a gathering to celebrate my neighbours 86th birthday.  No small occasion I’m sure you’ll agree.  But apart from “bring a plate” I had no idea what to prepare, for how many, sweet? savory? *shrug*.

I toyed with Quiche, pavlova, chocolate eclairs…as I was out last night it had to be something I could whip up after work, and as it was raining, with something in my pantry.  Aha!  Gougères! Small choux pastry puffs of cheesy goodness.

This recipe started with Damien Pignolet in his fantastic book “French”, and grew from there.

Preheat oven to 220 Degrees c

150ml water

150ml milk (fullfat preferably)

120g butter (cut into small cubes) ( 6 metric tablespoons i.e. 20ml each)

150 plain flour (sifted onto a sheet of greaseproof paper) (1.2 metric cups of flour i.e. 250ml)

4 eggs lightly beaten

about 3 tablespoons of cheese cut into a 5mm dice (Gruyere is traditional, but Comte or Cheddar is just as good)

A few sprigs of a herb to complement – I like chervil, but parsley or celery leaves would all be ok.  If you’re not sure, try some of the herb and the cheese together.  If they taste OK, then use them!  If they don’t, choose something else or leave it out all together.

A pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Heat the water, milk and butter in a smallish saucepan over a low-medium heat.  You want the butter to melt before it comes to the boil.

When it boils, take the saucepan off the hear and “shoot”  the flour in, all at once and stir until it forms a thick paste.

Put the saucepan back on a medium heat, and stir the paste for 30secs to a minute until it forms a smooth ball and comes away from the sides.

Put the paste into a stand mixer (or you can do this stage by hand in the saucepan) and leave to cool for five minutes.  With the mixer on slow (about 2) and using the paddle mixer (or K-blade) add the eggs in small amounts (4 – 5 batches) mixing very well in between each batch.   You will have a smooth shiny paste.

Stir in the cheese and herbs, and taste for salt and pepper.  I like to use celery salt (you can make this at home easily).

Spoon or pipe teaspoon size portions onto trays lined with baking paper, about 20 to the tray.

Bake for about 8 mins until the puffs are puffy and brown, then turn the oven down to 160degrees and cook for a further ten.

Serve warm with a glass of champagne makes about 50 puffs.

The mix is quite forgiving, you can have it ready to go, and wait until the last minute to bake them.  You can bake them for the first 8 mins, then cool them, and do the second baking later (they will flop, but will rise again.  They won’t be as good as fresh cooked, but they will be perfectly acceptable).  You can freeze them once they are fully cooked, so long as you freeze them when they are still warm.

These photo show the various stages of turning the paste into batter.

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11 thoughts on “Gougères Recipe

  • Oh Lisette – that sounds bloody gorgeous. Do the additions play around with the texture at all?

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • yum – one of my favourites. also good with chopped olives, anchovies and sundried tomatoes stirred through

    Comment from: lisette

  • Yeah, I had a sinking feeling as I was adding the eggs – no way I could actually pipe it. It basically looked like pancake batter. It looked fine up until the egg stage. Next time I try it, I’ll mix the pastry manually.

    Comment from: Sefie

  • I’ll be making them again next week Sefie, I’ll try to take note of reactions, but it’s not a dough like a normal pastry dough. It should “drop” from a spoon, but not like a cake batter, it’s thicker than that. It’s also a good texture to pipe from a bag.

    You could cross check with any other choux recipe – the ingredients are basically the same. Another 4 egg recipe calls for 125g butter, 250ml water, 1 cup of plain flour. I’ve just had a look at a few others and they seem to call for between 24 and 28% of flour to liquid (including the melted butter and the eggs as liquid). This recipe comes in at 24% so I don’t think it is too much liquid, but flour can be very variable.

    Michael Rhulman talks about ratios of ingredients. his recipes says: 125 gms flour, 250 mls water, 125 gms butter, 250 mls eggs = 625mls liquid to 1 cup flour. This recipe would be less rich as it has less butter in it, but 250ml eggs is a good guide.

    There are some photos of what your dough should look like on the Taste website
    It is really important to cook the flour, butter and water mixture over the heat for a while as this starts the expansion of the starch grains in the flour.

    Hope that helps – lets talk again – good luck.

    Does anyone else have some tips?

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • I got new batteries for the scales, and used 150g all-purpose flour, with 4 x 60g eggs. Possibly the paste was still *hot*, rather than *warm* – maybe that might have grabbed too much moisture? It was looking paste-y up til about the second egg… I might try halving the eggs and going by feel next time.

    Comment from: Sefie

  • Oh_dear, it sure sounds like you didn’t have enough flour Sefie. Did you get a new pair of scales or use my conversions? Looking at the recipe again, it might be confusing – you need 1 and 1/5 cups of flour. or 1.2 metric cup. A Metric cup is 250ml. Use 1 and 1/4 cups and take away a tablespoon.

    The eggs I used were large (67g) size.

    So either not ebough flour, or not enough egg. Eggs are quite variable sizewise, and flour can be more or less absorbent, don’t feel like you have to add all of the egg, but you must add it when the flour mix is warm (not hot), in small batches and you must mix it in really well.
    When you first add the egg it will look a bit slippery, but it will eventually blend in, and then you need to mix it some more before adding the next bit of egg.

    Does any of that sound helpful? Check your cup measures and your tablespoons. An Australian tablespoon is 20ml (US ones are 15ml), and a metric cup shoudl read 250ml.

    Let me know what you think. SJ

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • I’m not sure what happened, but when I added the eggs, it turned into a batter rather than a paste… I added about another 1/2 cup of flour to get it a bit more solid, but the end result was only a little puffy, and tasted really eggy, rather than cheesy. Do you have any idea what I’m doing wrong? :

    Comment from: Sefie

  • I love Bistro Flor. Hope you have a go at these yourself. As you can see- I’m having some teething problems with the volume meausurements and Sefie is “testing”. I’d recommend using the weights for now.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love gougeres and alway order them when I go to Bistro Flor but have put off making them myself because I assumed it would be too complicated. This recipe looks relatively simple and I will give it a try this weekend.

    Comment from: Queenotisblue

  • Let me know how you go. I’ve found out the secret to perfect crepes after all these years – and why my mum’s were so good when I was growing up – natural, full fat, unhomogonised milk!. There is a post coming soon about the use of particulates to standardise milk.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • They sound lovely, and I love a recipe that instructs “preferably full-fat”. Perhaps I’ll have a crack at them for my next work morning tea… particularly since my previous effort (your carrot cake) was so lauded!

    Comment from: Injera

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