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Successful Gougères

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These bloated crispy cheese balloons are so successful at parties you can't bake them fast enough. See how easy they are to make.

Gougères [goozhair]
80gr butter
80gr flour
3 eggs
200ml water
40-100gr quality Gruyère or Comté cheese
A pinch of salt
1 garlic clove (optional)

Gougères [goozhair] are savory pastries from Burgundy (France), traditionally made with Gruyère, the king of Swiss cheeses. For the French to use imported cheese is praise from Caesar indeed. Go for a salted 24month Gruyère d'alpage if you can, a seasoned Comté or substitute with aged Parmesan if you must.

Heat the water, butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.

When the butter has fully melted, whip until you get a homogeneous liquid.

Put the flour in a bowl and take in one hand while you have the whip in the other.

Put all of the flour into the saucepan in one go and mix vigorously with the whip. Be very quick or you won't be able to mix all of the flour in.

Whip the mixture like a devil so that the flour is evenly moistened. You will obtain a shiny dough called pâte à choux ('cabbage dough').

Heat the dough for 3 more minutes in the saucepan, mixing constantly. The point is to evaporate some of the water so that the dough will be able to absorb the eggs' moisture without collapsing.

Turn the heat off and let cool for a few minutes or pour in a different bowl. Add the eggs and mix vigorously until you obtain a smooth, fluffy dough.

Mix in about 30 gr of the cheese. Proceed with caution if you add more cheese. More cheese is better but too much will make your dough collapse and your gougères will look like pancakes rather than balloons. You can add a small crushed garlic clove at this stage although this is not tradition-approved.

For successful gougères it is very important that you beat in as many tiny air bubbles as you can. Use an electric beater if you can. The air you introduce at this stage is the reason gougères will rise, by helping the water turn into steam and inflate the dough. No air means flat gougères.

Heat oven to 200°C and place oiled parchment paper on a baking tray. Using a pastry bag, pipe the gougère dough into small, regular, evenly spaced little mounds. Doing is with a spoon calls for more dexterity than I have. I found smaller gougères to be more popular with my guests.

If the gougères are too close to each other, they will stick together when inflating.

On these pictures the dough is nicely fluffy and well aerated and retains its shape well. Maybe you don't get this result the first time you try. If your dough is liquid, keep the chin up and think about the next batch you'll make. Most probably you'll get compliments for your gougères anyway, it's just that they could have been better.

Sprinkle whatever cheese you have left on top. Try to cover the entire surface of each gougère with grated cheese.

Just sprinkle the cheese all over the tray and then use a spoon or your fingers to make the cheese that fell between gougères stick to their sides. Don't worry if some cheese remains on the parchment.

Bake the gougères at 200°C for about 15-18 minutes or until they become nicely tanned.

When they look like the picture above, increase oven temperature to the maximum. I set my oven for Grill - 250°C.

Stay next to the oven and watch your gougère turn brown. This intense heat gives them a crispier and tastier crust, but they can withstand it only for a few minutes before burning, so watch out.

Serve the gougères piping hot. Your little balls of dough have turned into large empty balls of crispy cheese crust with a whiff of hot Gruyère steam inside. Amazing!

Watch your guest ransack the plate and eating one after the other until there is nothing left.

Unfortunately, you cannot really prepare gougères in advance. But the dough takes only about 10 minutes to prepare.

Old gougères lose their crispiness and the dough just doesn't preserve in the fridge. This reminds me of my first gougère, in the picturesque village of Vézelay in Burgundy, where Saint Bernard preached the first Crusade. In a small bakery I saw lines of gougères and, having never tasted them, I wondered if they were any good. So I asked the lady if the gougères had been made today 'Elles sont d'aujourd'hui, vos gougères?'. She looked at me for a moment, then answered sharply 'Mais non Monsieur, pensez-vous, elles sont de l'avant-veille.' - 'No Mister, what do you think, they are from the day before.'. I decided against the gougères and upon exiting the shop I heard her rumbling 'Pas fraîches mes gougères, pas fraîches mes gougères, non mais des fois!' - 'Not fresh, my gougères! My gougères not fresh! Who the hell do they think they are!'.



  • #1
  • Comment by Sithean
Your recipes are delightful, and I have to grin every time I read  them. Thank you so very much for sharing!
  • #2
  • Comment by Richard Bennett
Is this what you meant to say in your recipe. Preparation: 20 minCooking: 25 minIngredients (serves 6 people):- 4 eggs + (1 yolk - optional) - 2/3 cups grated white cheese - 2/3 cups of sifted flour - 6 tbsps of butter + 1 tbsp for the cooking sheet - 1 pinch of nutmeg - salt and pepperDirections:Preheat the oven to 400°F.In a thick and deep pot, heat 1 cup water.When boiling, add the butter cut in pieces + 1 teaspoon of salt.Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once.Mix quickly, and let it dry for one minute at low heat.Let it cool a bit, than add the eggs one by one, mixing well between each egg.Add the grated cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.Put this paste on a buttered oven sheet in small separated portions (the size of a nut), using two teaspoons.You can paint the puffs with an egg yolk, using a brush.Cook for 25 minutes, but check at 20 min (cookijg time depends on your oven). Following your instructions I got soup.  
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
Richard you need to let the mixture dry a bit longer in the pot and work the eggs and cheese carefully into it so that it keeps its texture.
  • #4
  • Comment by Maud
Oh thank you so much for this, my father used to bake them for me and my brother when we were little and i'm so very fond of gougères! He would make them a lot bigger but to each his own!Thank you.
  • #5
  • Comment by natasha
This recipe is great! I'm using it for a school project, and it is awesome!on thursday i'm making them so i really hope i don't burn them! WOO HOO!
  • #6
  • Comment by natasha d
I have a emergency question? how many gougeres does it make? I need 30, how many batches do I have to do to get that many? please answer or I'll get marks of, and I'm probably already failing becuase of my partner! please reply tonight or tommorrow afternoon! Thanx a bunch! bye
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Natasha, for 30 gougères you need to make the recipe twice. Good luck!
  • #8
  • Comment by Mazid the Raider
I thought these looked great when I first saw them, but they taste even better than I thought!I followed the recipe precisely (.64 cup flour, 5.63 tbsp butter, 200ml water) and had great success. The only two downsides were that I was unable to find a pastry tube on short notice, and that the Gruyère on the pan burnt and set off every smoke alarm in the house. The end result was large and very good. I'll definitely be doing this again!Thanks for a great recipe! the pictures really help. :D
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
I am so glad it worked for you Mazid!
Next time you should stand next to your oven and watch them bake - only 20 seconds too long and they'll burn.
  • #10
  • Comment by Magnus Ekenstedt
Hey, nice stuff. I´m planning on using this for New Years evening, the problem though is the oven that is going to be a bit busy by the time of my guests arrival. If I make the gougeres, say half an hour in advance will they still be tasty..?
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Hello Magnus, I think you could very well make them 30 minutes before the guests are due to arrive. Sure they would be even crispier and the effect on the guests would be best (what's in this gorgeous-smelling oven?) if you put the tray in the oven as the first guest arrive, but then you would have a chance of burning them. There is only 30 seconds or so between a perfect gougere and an hopelessy burnt one, so you may not want to bear the risk. I recommend you try a batch the night before so you'll feel even more confident on the big day. Let me know how it worked!
  • #12
  • Comment by ChuChu
I just find your amazing website and I am a female engineer, but I like to see pictures instead of words, I watched youtube lately to try to refine my cooking skill.I saw by gougrese receipe, and lately I have tried to make Pao de Queijo.  I have been to Brazil once and just can't forget this Cheese ball.  I lived in the US and can't find the brazilian manioc starch and the brazilian white cheese. I tried to replace it with the Thail Tapioca starch. Of course, it's not the same. I will try your recipe and maybe change it to Tapioca starch and will let you know if it comes out good.  
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
ChuChu, thanks for your kind comments and good luck with your batch of gougères! Sometimes it's best to cook the best you can with the ingredients that you can find locally rather than hunting for substitutes for ingredients you just can't find outside of their countries of origin.
Hi, Fx, thank you for sharing your technique.  My gougeres rose nicely but they didn't brown evenly and, when I removed them from the oven, the ones in the middle of the pan fell.  

They still tasted good and they were light and moist but they didn't look good.

Can you tell me what did I do wrong and how can I correct it?  Was my oven too hot?  Not hot enough?  I used 425°F and a silpat mat instead of parchment.  I will be making them again this afternoon.

Thank you!  Barb
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
Barb, I don't know of one oven that offers perfectly uniform heat across its volume. The solution is simple, you should turn the tray around halfway through baking. That is standard practice with French bakers. About your gougères' look, send me a picture and I'll let you know.
Your photos are amazing!  Those look incredibly delicious!
  • #17
  • Comment by Jeri van Etten
I have been making gougeres for years, using various receipes. They are my favorite appetizer. I want to share something-- you can freeze them in a plastic bag and take out as many as you want and reheat in the oven for about 3 minutes and they taste as good as new!!!  Try it and let me know.
  • #18
  • Comment by Louis
I follow the recipe to the very end....
the final dough look exactly like the one shown in your picture..
the gougeres doesnt seems to rise after baked...

probably it is something to do with "beat in as many tiny air bubbles as you can" that you mentioned earlier
probably thats the step i miss out..
whats actually do you mean by beat in the air bubbles??

  • FX's answer→ Louis, I am very sorry to hear my gougères failed you. However, you should know that many professional chefs get gougere troubles. The think that makes the gougere rise is the water in the dough, have you checked if your dough resembles the pictures at each stage? If your oven is not hot enough, they won't rise. If you fail to whisk in enough air bubbles, they won't rise either. You need to whisk the dough vigorously with up and down movements to introduce the minscle bubbles in the dough. Then as the water evaporates under intense heat in the oven, these air-filled cavities will fill with the steam and your gougères will rise like baloons!

  • #20
  • Comment by Jill
I made these for a dinner party, and they went over very well!  They were delicious, although my dough wasn't quite as nice as yours - I think I needed to let more water evaporate in the earlier step.  They still ballooned in the oven nicely, they were just a little flatter than yours.  But they were still so tasty; they were all gone halfway through the evening - no leftover gougeres at my house!
  • FX's answer→ Jill, if there were none left, then you did them right! Even seasoned professional French chefs have gougère problems, and the pâte à choux needed to make them can be quite tricky. Congratulations on making them successfully then!

  • #22
  • Comment by Olivier
These have become a familly classic thanks to you! They're absolutely amazingly light and savory, thank you very much!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks and glad my little article brought a new classic on your family's table!

  • #24
  • Comment by Sarah Punchard
Thank you for giving me the confidence to try gougeres.  Your recipe and explanatory notes / pictures were hugely helpful.  I had beginners' luck!  Near-perfect gougeres and no problems, apart from the blister on my middle finger from so much whisking.
  • FX's answer→ Well done Sarah! Now don't let this cuddle you into thinking that next time they cannot fail you. Every time you bake some gougères you need to follow the procedure scrupulously. One careless moment and bang, you have a Gruyère flan.

  • #26
  • Comment by Jane Signore

Just discovered your website!  It is absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to begin cooking and baking!  Is there a conversion table available?  (living in USA)
Thank-you and look forward to hearing back from you.

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jane, since this article I started including both metric and Imperial measurements, but not for this one. I really recommend you acquire a digital kitchen scale though, they are very affordable and will enable you to cook European recipes as well as American, with a lot of precision!

  • #28
  • Comment by HAIYUN
Dear FX: Do you happen to have the recipe for the famous Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Custards? They are to die for...I had the best Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Café e Nata in Macau. It's a small and unpretentious coffee-shop that is tucked into a side alley. Its egg tarts alone is the reason to visit Macau for many people from all over the world. If you google it; you will have an idea what a solid reputation it enjoys.
I'm craving for some freshly baked Portuguese egg tart, but it's such a long trip from Miami to Macau. :(  I had a great success following your recipe to make the perfect Gougères; so I'm wondering if you have the recipe for Pasteis de Nata? Many thanks and warm regards from Miami. Haiyun
  • #29
  • Comment by Miss B
I was a bit nervous about trying these, as I am not much of a cook and have never made any sort of pastry, but it turns out that they were really quite easy! My very first try at them turned out perfectly.

They stayed in exactly the shape they were piped. I couldn't eat them fast enough... I ate so many I had a stomachache last night!!

Because they held their shape so well I'm thinking about using different shaped pastry tips instead of just a plain round one. I will be making lots of them for a party next weekend and I know they will be a hit.

Thank you for the great instructions and pictures. The pictures really helped me to know that I was doing things correctly.

Miss B
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Miss B and glad it worked for you. If I can add a recommendation is for you to follow the recipe scrupulously the next time too. This is one of these recipes that seem so easy when you do it by the book, that next time you feel tempted to do it bohemian-style, no measurement, mix while watching TV, and then disaster happens.

  • #31
  • Comment by Ty
I just made my first batch not 5 minutes ago.  Thank you FX.  My dough ended up a bit runny, and so, some of them didn't balloon up as they should have, however, these are perhaps the most delicious pastry (if one should call them that) I have ever made.  My failure is still a delicious failure.  I will get back up, and try them again soon!
  • #32
  • Comment by Jackie
Tx for such a detailed, idiot-proof recipe. I suddenly had a craving for gougere and wondered if I could make some myself. Will definitely try this recipe out. ;D
  • #33
  • Comment by krmen
Wonderfully tasty indeed, thank you.
  • #34
  • Comment by Steven
This is a flawed recipe - too much water and butter per flour.  It results in flat Gougères.  Also, the cheese must be added to the hot water/flour/butter mixture, not after the eggs. Look into other recipes and the proportions are considerably different.  I would simply use a standard chous pastry recipe - and add cheese.  I make this all the time and it's much firmer.
  • #35
  • Comment by Joanne
I really liked your anecdote at the end!

And what a well-documented article, complete with very informative and telling pictures.
Thanks for that great tip about not adding too much cheese into the mixture - I did that and my gougeres Did fall a little more than usual (though they did taste better!)

Once again, great, great post!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Joanne, glad the article was of some help!

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