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Goat Cheese & Herb Gougères

March 23, 2009

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When we lived in Boston, I used to occasionally take cooking classes at the Cambridge Culinary Institute. One of my favorite classes was on pâte à choux, the egg-leavened dough used to make “stuff with puff,” like éclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles, and gougères. I remember standing in the kitchen classroom, intensely focused on the pot in front of me. I heated butter and milk together, stirred in flour, and then beat in eggs, one by one, until a smooth, sticky and slightly elastic dough formed: choux paste. It doesn’t look like much in its batter form–just butter, flour, milk and eggs–but I was happily anticipating the dramatic transformation it would undergo in the oven. I made a batch of eclairs, carefully piping the choux paste into plump fingers on a baking sheet. Then I made a batch of Roquefort gougères, mixing crumbled blue cheese with the choux paste before piping it into little spheres. I slid the sheets into the oven, and waited. The transformation always tickles me: it’s a delightful feat of culinary alchemy, the way the eggs in the dough leaven a sticky batter and transform it into gorgeously browned, light, airy puffs of pastry.

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My favorite recipe from the class was the Roquefort gougères, and I’ve made them periodically since then for a little snack on the weekend, or for an appetizer. Gougères typically have Gruyere cheese in them (delicious, believe me!) but you can mix in other kinds of cheese as well — blue cheese is terrific, as is goat cheese — and it was the latter option I went with this weekend, along with some herbs that I had leftover from another dish I’d made.

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A few notes about the dough: your arms do get a bit of a workout mixing the melted butter, milk, and flour together, but I find it’s not really a big enough deal to warrant a switch over to my electric mixer and paddle attachment. You can make the dough and freeze it directly in a ziptop bag, thawing it thoroughly before you pipe it into rounds. Or, you can fully bake the gougères, let them cool completely and then freeze them in a single layer in a ziptop bag — just reheat for 5-10 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. They’re just about as good as the day you bake them! And definitely do serve them warm: they’re like a hot little cloud of eggy dough with a fleeting taste of cheese and herb…delicious.

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Goat Cheese & Herb Gougères

Adapted from the Cambridge Culinary Institute

You could substitute various kinds of cheese in this recipe. The original used crumbled Roquefort, which was absolutely delicious. Cheddar or Gruyere would be quite good, too.

view printable recipe

Ingredients
1 cup milk
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, divided
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese; use something local if you can get it
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives or parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan,  combine the butter, milk and salt and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Whisk for a few minutes, then return the pan to the heat and continue whisking to dry the paste out slightly. Remove the heat from the pan again, switch to a wooden spoon, and add 4 of the eggs — one at a time — stirring to make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the goat cheese and chopped fresh herbs.

Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets (or drop by the tablespoonful). Beat the remaining egg, then brush the tops of each puff with it. Sprinkle each with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake each sheet, one at a time, in the 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned and the gougeres are puffed. Serve warm, or let cool completely and freeze in a ziptop bag (you can reheat in an oven on a baking sheet before you’re ready to serve.)

Makes about 2 dozen, plus a few.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 5:21 am

    These look delicious and I love the step-by-step pictures! I’ve got to try my hand at making gougeres, I don’t know what’s stopping me because they are my favorite bite at cocktail events!

  2. March 23, 2009 5:51 am

    Amy: These look great! And I’m so excited to see the new Spring banner on your site!

  3. March 23, 2009 8:20 am

    These look amazing!

  4. March 23, 2009 9:31 am

    So impressive. One day I will tackle pâte à choux but I need to get a pastry bag first!

  5. March 23, 2009 9:49 am

    ooh, so yummy. and i love goat cheese, too! but of course now i want to look into culinary classes…

  6. March 23, 2009 1:49 pm

    ooh, so yummy. and i love goat cheese, too! but of course now i want to look into culinary classes…
    Forgot to write excellent post! Looking forward to seeing your next one!

  7. giverecipe2009 permalink
    March 23, 2009 2:47 pm

    Great snacks! I love such savory pastries. They can be perfect for quick breakfast. I’ll absolutely try this and share the result with you. I’m bookmarking it. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. March 23, 2009 4:33 pm

    I want one! These look awesome.

  9. March 23, 2009 5:26 pm

    These look monstrously exciting. I am completely obsessed by goats cheese at present.

  10. March 23, 2009 8:50 pm

    Little, delectable savoury works of art. How beautiful and scrumptious.

  11. March 23, 2009 9:00 pm

    Those look really delicious – I think I’m going to have to try to make them. :)

  12. March 23, 2009 10:31 pm

    These look divine! I will have to try them.

  13. March 23, 2009 10:59 pm

    these look fantastic ! would love to try this receipe.

  14. March 24, 2009 2:13 am

    It really is a delightful transformation! What beautiful gougeres. Mmm, you make me want to get into the kitchen right these second to make these comforting little treats.

  15. March 24, 2009 8:59 am

    Wow, I really want to make these. They look so deliciously fantastic. I love me some good bread recipes!

  16. March 24, 2009 9:33 am

    I can’t believe how good these look! Molly (from Orangette) just wrote about gougeres in her Bon Appetit column last month, but I wasn’t completely sold till I read your post. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Sami permalink
    March 24, 2009 11:02 am

    I saw a recipe for these in a recent Bon Appetit and I plan on making them for a French food day at my school. Will they transport well? They’ll need to keep until noon.

  18. March 24, 2009 12:48 pm

    Absolutely stunning! I’m printing this off right away. I can’t wait to try these.

  19. March 24, 2009 2:24 pm

    I remember making cream puffs in my high school foods class, they were so fun to make. And of course, I wanted to make them as often as possible at home. I haven’t made them in years now though, and I’ve never ventured past the cream puff. These would be awesome though, and it’s great that they freeze well.

  20. American Heavy permalink
    March 24, 2009 8:00 pm

    Cheese & bread: my two favorite foods. Your photos look good enough to eat.

  21. March 26, 2009 9:57 pm

    Sue Bette – you should definitely try them, and yes, I think there’s pretty much nothing better with a glass of wine!

    Kristin – thanks! I could hardly wait to switch it over…I’m so ready for spring. :)

    Liz – thanks!

    whitney – oh, you could just as easily load it into a ziptop bag and cut off the corner…or just use two spoons and drop them like cookie dough. Don’t let lack of a pastry bag prevent you from making them! ;)

    ttfn300 – thanks for the sweet comment!

    giverecipe2009 – they *would* make a delicious breakfast…good idea.

    Janna, Greg, Anna, Katie, Nicole, Olga – thank you!

    Elyse – yes, the transformation is what gets me every time…I just love it.

    kimberley – you and me both!

    KT – I have a stack of food magazines still waiting to be read (busy month!) but I can’t wait to read Molly’s take. What great timing!

    Sami – they’ll transport just fine. They’re definitely best served warm, but I don’t imagine they’ll be *too* bad served at room temperature! ;)

    Lisa – thanks!

    Marianne – they do indeed freeze beautifully, so I hope you enjoy them if you give them a try!

    AmericanHeavy – two of my favorite foods, too!

  22. November 13, 2009 3:19 pm

    Wow. I’ve just stumbled across your blog, and these look sooooooo delish, I shall be stopping by again! :-)

  23. April 12, 2010 6:14 pm

    Came here from stumble upon..love this recipe. I first thought it was a yeast recipe but was happy seeing that it is not. I am not great at baking with yeast! Gonna try this soon!

  24. Alison permalink
    August 6, 2010 12:00 pm

    I made these yesterday, but substituted the goat’s cheese with cheddar. They looked very promising rising into puffs in the oven, but the moment I took them out, they sunk! :o(
    I am a novice cook, though I do love the challenging recipes. I thought this would be easy. What did I do wrong? I used self rising flour instead of all purpose… also, I’m wondering if I didn’t whisk the batter enough?
    Any suggestions?

    • August 6, 2010 6:22 pm

      Hi Alison, it was likely the self-rising flour…it has baking powder included in it already, so the leavening was probably off.

  25. October 16, 2010 4:51 pm

    These are beautiful and they look so light.

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