Makes between 20 and 30 pieces

Gougères are small spherical hollow pastry shells, firm outside and soft inside, usually flavored with gruyère cheese. Think of gougères as the savory equivalent of profiteroles—the almost identical pastry shell filled with vanilla ice cream or custard, served with chocolate sauce.

Adapted by Renee Marton from The French Laundry Cookbook, Thomas Keller, 1999

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Line two baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper.

  • 1 cup water
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 – 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese (5 ounces)
  • Freshly ground white pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add all the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon for two minutes, or until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated. The mixture should start pulling away from the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the paste to standing mixer (you can use a hand held mixer but it is more difficult) fitted with the paddle and beat for about 3o seconds at medium speed to cool slightly.  Add 4 eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until completely combined and the thick batter has a smooth, silky and shiny texture. Lift up the paddle to check consistency of the batter which should form a soft peak that falls over when you hold the paddle upright.  If it is too stiff, beat in the white of the remaining egg.  Check again, and if necessary, add the yolk.  Finally, mix in 3/4 cup of the gruyère cheese and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Fill a pastry bag or Ziploc bag fitted with a 3/8-inch pastry tip (or not—just cut off a small corner of the Ziploc bag) with the batter. Pipe the batter into small mounds, leaving about 2 inches between them as the mounds will expand during baking. You can also use a melon baller sized ice cream scoop, or even a spoon (moisten them before use). Sprinkle the top of each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they puff and hold their shape.  Reduce the heat to 350ºF and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, less time if you are using a convection oven.  When the gougères are done, they should be a light golden brown color.  When you break one open, it should be hollow; the inside should be cooked but still slightly moist.  Remove pans from oven and serve while hot.