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Gougères

I’ve been making gougères for more years than I care to remember. I’ve tried recipes from JC, Michael Field, Gourmet, Zuni. They’re always good, but I never thought they were truly great. Some were a bit too thin to pipe easily. Others just didn’t have enough flavor. Mostly, they just weren’t cheesy enough. I can never get enough cheese.

So, for a party this weekend, I’m making Zuni’s New Year’s Eve Gougères and decided to try yet another recipe. I just stumbled across this from Alain Ducasse.

http://tinyurl.com/29jsb8

Absolutely the best so far. It’s a fairly thick dough that’s very easy to pipe, resulting in a far more attractive shape than the ones I’d made with the Zuni recipe. He uses half whole milk and half water instead of all water and I think the milk helps to enhance the cheese flavor and make the gougères a bit richer. And he does use more Gruyere than most recipes—3½ ounces rather than the 2 that is often called for.

I know a number of Hounds made gougères for Thanksgiving and if any of you made one you thought was really extraordinary, I’d be curious to hear how it compares ingredients-wise to this one. I’m always willing to try a new gougères recipe. But this one will be the new standard against which others will be held.

 
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  1. Joan - that's good to know - I've only ever used JC's recipe - will give this a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I just remembered, too, that I used the oldest gruyere Fairway had. The more aged cheese is sharper and less smooth than a younger gruyere and I think that also added to the amped up cheesiness taste.

    2. I haven't made these since the late 80's - and I loved them!

      Do you think this recipe would be good with a standing rib roast? I forgot how easy this was to make.

      2 Replies
      1. re: OysterHo

        I've only ever served gougères as an hors d'oeuvre. Do you mean serve it as your bread product instead of, for instance, popovers? Very interesting idea. And I don't see why not.

        1. re: JoanN

          Yes, right, instead of popovers. They're kind of hollow, aren't they? It's been so long, I should make them on a test run first. :D

      2. The one I use is from Leite's Culinaria. There is no milk, yet they are very rich and its quite a thick dough. Thick enough that I use a small scooper to make evenly sized puffs. This recipe calls for 6 oz. cheese, water, butter, salt, egg, flour, dry mustard, and a touch of cayenne. Very easy. I love these. I'm going to try one of these other recipes though. I like to try different types of cheeses too. Mine can't have enough cheese either! I'll try AD's recipe and get back to you. I've got a holiday party on Saturday to try these out.

        5 Replies
        1. re: foodandscience

          Oooh, that does look good. Six ounces! Terrific. Depending on what I'm using them for, I do like to add a hint of cayenne. And Michael Field, who also uses cheddar, adds some dry mustard, too. I won't get around to trying these real soon, but I'll be very curious to hear how you think the AD recipe compares.

          1. re: foodandscience

            Here's a link to the Leite's recipe by Tori Ritchie:
            http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

            I've heard others praise this recipe in the past. I've yet to try my hand at gougeres, but this thread is inspiring me to!

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I assume from past posts, Carb Lover, that you have the Zuni Cafe cookbook. Her New Year's Eve Gougères are a real treat. Whatever recipe you use for the gougères itself, the addition of bacon, arugula, and pickled onions (another Zuni recipe that I always keep on hand) is right up there with the best hors d'ourvres ever.

              1. re: JoanN

                Oh yeah, I have the book and drool over the picture periodically. I'll keep them in mind for upcoming parties, and they seem like a fantastic addition to brunch!

                Link to Zuni recipe:
                http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  I actually prefer Tori Ritchie's recipe to the Zuni recipe... for some reason the dough behaves better. And of course, they're delicious to pop in your mouth!

          2. has anyone tried the recipe from the Tartine cookbook? i was thinking of making these for a party this weekend...

            1. I made these last week using the recipe from Cooks Illustrated (off the web site - I don't remember which issue it was in). Anyway, it was fabulous!

              4 Replies
              1. re: jenhen2

                Do you still have access to the recipe (I don't)? Could you post the list of ingredients, please? Thanks.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Sure! See below for the ingredients. The directions are pretty much the same as all the others for this sort of recipe. These really are the best I've tried, though. Enjoy!

                  2 large eggs , plus 1 large egg white
                  6 tablespoons water
                  5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 10 pieces
                  2 tablespoons whole milk
                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                  1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/2 ounces), sifted
                  3 ounces Gruyère, Emmentaler, or Swiss cheese , shredded (about 1 cup)
                  Pinch cayenne pepper

                  1. re: jenhen2

                    That's really interesting. First, it makes half the amound of dough of most gougères recipes. Just curious why that would be so. And I've never seen a recipe calling for addional egg whites. It's a bit more butter than usual, but not all that much; and more than double the amount of cheese. Definitely adding this to the to-try list. Thanks, jenhen2.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Anytime! In the article, Cooks Illustrated says that the extra white makes it a little more crispy, which I found to be true. Also, it says in the article to put the eggs together, mix them up and then pour out any more than 1/2 cup. That's an important detail I forgot to mention!

                      Also, I used a small cookie dough scoop and it made about 30 2-bite puffs which I served with shrimp cocktail and was perfect for my party of 7 people.

              2. I'm going to have another go at making these... my first attempt didn't seem to work out. I'm going todo a test try of the Alain Ducasse recipe and see how it goes since I'm planning on serving these at a party on Weds. night. Quick question... it says to bake them and then refrigerate them if not using right away, do I need to refrigerate? Also, if I'm serving them on Weds. would I be better off freezing them already cooked and then reheating? Thanks!

                5 Replies
                1. re: cjc519

                  Not sure I'm getting your timing here. But since they freeze so beautifully, and reheat so quickly, why not just freeze them and be sure. Reheat the frozen gougeres in a preheated 425-degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Every bit as good as fresh out of the oven.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I'm very excited to report... I did it! After my first failed attempt, I made some really lovely (and delicious) gougeres! I used the Alain Ducasse recipe and they came out perfectly. I did go ahead and cook them fully, so what's the best way to store them to make sure they're fresh for Wednesday? And.... will I need to reheat them or are they ok room temperature? Thank you:) BTW, I'm really glad I didn't let my initial discouragement keep me from making these again... so many good tips from all of you (as usual).

                    1. re: cjc519

                      Congratulations! Next you'll be telling us about your croquembouche!

                      I always make them further ahead of the event than you did, so I freeze and reheat as I noted above. Since they do freeze so well, I probably wouldn't take the chance they'd go stale and would freeze them even just overnight. They reheat so quickly, and they're so good that way, I would serve them out of the oven. They'll come to room temperature quickly enough, but they're such a delight while they're still hot you might as well give your guests that pleasure.

                    2. re: JoanN

                      I just saw a recipe on the Food Network and they say to reheat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes if chilled or 15 minutes if frozen.

                      What would the difference be? (I'm a novice to freezing-reheating.) Thanks!

                      1. re: ErikaZ

                        I can't tell you what the difference would be, or if there even is one, because I've only reheated baked, frozen gougères at 425 for 3 or 4 minutes. And since that's always worked for me, I think I'll stick with it. It's entirely possible there'd be no difference at all.

                  2. I also tried the Alain Ducasse Gougères. Wow. So good and so simple!

                    Understand, first, that I am not a baker. Other than gravy, I tend to avoid anything that involves flour. It is not my strong suit. So if I can make something like this work, anyone can. Also, not being a baker, I have no pastry bag (though I will get one now) so I just made lumpy dollops of dough on the baking sheet with a spoon. They still came out terrific! My friends last night loved them.

                    A couple of slight changes: I think I used more cheese than called for, which was not a problem. And I used a LOT more than a pinch of black pepper, which also was great. I will probably use more next time. I used raw, whole milk as well.

                    I encourage anyone to try them!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Tom P

                      Re: the pastry bag. I haven't tried this yet, but I was reading about another gougere recipe (I think from the Boston Globe). Anyway, the author suggested putting the dough in a big zip loc bag, twisting the bag at the top in a diagonal manner and then cutting a bottom corner off. Squeeze the dough out of the corner. There was a little photo to accompany the text and it looked interesting.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        I do that sometimes - v. easy, though I do put a pastry tip in the bag.

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          Great idea, thanks! I am making them again tonight, I will give it a try.

                          1. re: Tom P

                            Great. And since MMRuth has done this successfully, I'm sure it will work beautifully. So many things to cook, so little time.

                            1. re: beetlebug

                              Hi, all. new to this site, but it's terrific. coming a bit late to this party, but would like to add 2 gougeres recipes worth trying -- i just made them for the first time last week. Gordon Hamersley"s recipe from Bistro Cooking at Home was a cinch. Also uses 1/2 c milk, which I think enhanced cheesey-dairy flavor. Also tried Susan Loomis recipe from French Farm House Cookbook. Liked Hamersley's better - but took a cue from Loomis and tossed in minced chives and added a bit more cheese. Really wonderful. LOVE this site.

                      2. Thanks so much for the recommendation on the Ducasse recipe. They turned out perfectly last evening. Meant to take a photo, but what could capture the essence of that lovely cheese puff? Flawless recipe. THanks!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Tehama

                          Can't tell you how happy it makes me when these old threads that I've completely forgotten about return to life--especially when it's a success story such as yours, Tehama. Thanks for coming back and reporting.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            What a sweet note! I feel the same way about I see "oldies" coming back to life - reminds me of when I first joined CH!

                        2. I assume folks have tried gougeres made with something other than gruyere. How did that go?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: lemons

                            I've made them with both comté and pecorino, but prefer them with cave-aged gruyère. Any hard, sharp cheese would work. I'm sure they'd be good with cheddar, but I don't care for most of the cheddars that are readily available.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              I am pretty sure that Comte is aged gruyere and is of a higher quality and price.

                              1. re: Gloriaa

                                Yes, it is. In fact, I've seen it sold in France as Gruyère de Comté. I wouldn't buy it specifically for making gougères. Too expensive. But I had some leftover once. Made a damn good gougères. The cheaper cave-aged Gruyère is good enough for me.

                                1. re: Gloriaa

                                  Comte is not aged gruyere. It's French gruyere.

                                  "Gruyere" is a term that can only be used with cheese that is made in Switzerland.

                                  The French make a cheese very similar to gruyere but cannot call it that, hence "Comte."

                                  Like gruyere and other hard cheeses Comte can be had in varying ages, qualities and price points.

                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                    Very interesting. I didn't realize that. But I have seen a cheese in France called "Gruyère de Comté." So I guess they can use "Gruyère" as long as it's accompanied by"Comté"?

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      They've been fighting over this for quite a long time and to further add to the confusion I just found this: http://mobile.dairyreporter.com/Regul...

                              2. re: lemons

                                I made some just the other week with manchego and black pepper - they were excellent.

                                1. I've never made Ducasse's recipe but I did look at it and the ratios are what I always use (with the exception of the butter) - I wish more recipes included ratios . . . . but that is another thread.

                                  My go to ratio for gougeres (and Ducasse's):

                                  1:1:1:1

                                  1 part liquid (water, milk, combo): 1 part egg (4 eggs=1 cup): 1 part flour: 1 part butter (he is using 1/2 cup or 1/2 part - I use more)

                                  I like the ratio because I can make them with whatever I have around. If I have two eggs - I just crack them into a measuring cup and use that as my measure (no matter if it is 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup, etc, etc, etc).

                                  This ratio works every time for me - add a little sugar and use for dessert - add a little cheese and use for gougeres - etc, etc . . . .

                                  1. I have heard that Dories are superb, as well as, Francois Payards.....let me know if I can help.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: angelsmom

                                      Actually, Dorie's recipe is almost exactly the same as Ducasse's but she adds an additional egg which I think unnecessary. She also uses a bit more cheese, but I add more cheese to the Ducasse recipe anyway.

                                      I don't have Payard's book, but I've read a couple of reviews of the recipe, one from an Amazon book reviewer and one from a blogger, saying that it just doesn't work.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        I have read only great reviews...which is why I bought his book Bite Size.

                                        He uses no water...5 eggs...5ounces of cream and 3 1/2 cups gruyere.

                                        1. re: angelsmom

                                          Have you made his recipe? I had to look it up (I have the book) because his ratio seemed so different. I can't image how it works

                                          3 1/2 cups flour
                                          5 eggs (a little over a cup)
                                          5 oz (a little over 1/2 cup)
                                          3 1/2 cups cheese.

                                          It seems like these would be tough heavy flour bombs. I may have to try it as his other books are quite good.

                                          1. re: thimes

                                            No, I have not made them...but read many good reviews on them.
                                            There s also 1 cup of water in them.

                                            1. re: angelsmom

                                              Few. I must have missed the water. Maybe I'll give them a try.

                                              1. re: thimes

                                                Maybe there are a few different Payard recipes out there? No water in this one. http://cookbad.blogspot.com/2008/03/g... which she says is from the book. And this is the blog post (along with the Amazon review) that made me think I didn't need to try it. Will be very curious to read a report if you do try them, thimes. And also to know what recipe you use.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  There is no water listed in the ingredients, but scroll down to line 2 of the instructions and it is there.......most confusing.

                                                  1. re: angelsmom

                                                    To all the experts out there - how are they supposed to be inside??

                                                    I just finished making them and although they taste good and puffed up nicely I think I went wrong somewhere somehow.

                                                    Mine would be best described as hollow in the middle. Is that how their supposed to be?

                                                    1. re: millygirl

                                                      Yes! Light and airy, I guess very airy. That is exactly what you are looking for. Congrats!

                                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                                        Who knew :) Thanks Gloriaa!!! They are mighty tasty.

                                                      2. re: millygirl

                                                        Remember, this is basically the same dough you'd use for cream puffs or eclairs - minus, of course, the cheese. Hollow inside is perfect.

                                      2. I am in agreement; they're never cheesy enough, except for some I had in Burgundy from some caterer or other a decade or more ago. But they would know how, then, wouldn't they?

                                        So I just did this recipe. Cave-aged French gruyere,$13/lb, beautifully sharp to taste. Extra black pepper. And I was still disappointed. Finally, as the second batch was about half-way through baking, it dawned on me: Needed more salt. So next time I'll do that. And next time, I'm going to forego the pastry bag and return to the old teaspoon dipped in water. I just hate washing out pastry bags. Not sure if this will help anyone, but at least it's a note to myself. And the last batch, currently in the oven, I ground extra pepper over. Let's see what that does.

                                        1. Old post, however I just made the Ducasse version (after reading this thread), and was disappointed. I do love the recipe in Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, which includes 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unbleached white flour, 2 ounces Gruyere, freshly ground pepper. I prefer both the taste and the consistency of Madison's.