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Gougeres... Did I do something wrong?

After reading the posts from those who were making recipes from the Silver Palate cookbook I thought I'd give these a try. I followed the recipe exactly, but something just doesn't seem right. OK.... first, the recipe says you will get 20 pieces (using 1 tbsp dough per piece). The dropfuls I put on the cookies sheet seemed kind of large (but close to a tablespoon) and I thought maybe they should be a little smaller which would yield much more than 20. Could they be made smaller? Once they were done I took them out of the oven (took about 20 minutes) and ate one. They tasted pretty good but they seemed slightly moist in the middle. Are they supposed to be that way? I've never even had these before so I have no frame of reference. The other thing is that they seem a little flat, not as puffy as maybe they should be. I would really like to make these for a small party I'm having next week. Any suggestions? Also, I used Parmesan cheese... can you use other kinds? Can you make other additions to the dough? I thought they might taste good with Parmesan cheese and some prosciutto. Thanks for any help!

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  1. See this recent thread, which has links to some terrific gougeres recipes.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468533

    The interior should be tender and moist, but not mushy. It's a good idea to take one out, split it, take a look, and put it back in for another couple of minutes if you think it's necessary.

    Perhaps if you use one of the recipes that has a stiffer dough, or just add more cheese than your recipe calls for, you'll get more of the height you're looking for.

    I had great success with an aged gruyere. Some recipes call for cheddar, some for Swiss. Gougeres are pretty forgiving.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN

      Thank you so much!! Ironically, after I made them I went online to see if I could find a photo of them to have some idea of what they should look like and came across the recipe you mentioned in the thread (Alan D's). I will try them again and try making them a little smaller. I noticed someone said they like to pop them in their mouth.... mine were much bigger than "poppable" size:) Thank you again!

    2. Ditto what JoanN said re: the consistency and checking.

      As for cheeses, I too have used a nice gruyere. I've also added in some Vela dry Jack for an extra 'bite'. And some red pepper flakes too. You can experiment with whatever kind of cheese you like -- and however 'sharp' you'd like them to taste.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LNG212

        OH THANK YOU FOR POSTING!
        I made them for TG using the Silver Palate recipe, using Gruyere and was too embarrassed to post about the results!
        Mine were flat and moist, sort of like a thick blintz. I was expecting light airy puffy bites. The dough was super stiff-at one point I was convinced I did not add enough milk. I almost threw them away but decided to serve them as I did not want to waste all those good and expensive (cheese) ingredients. Everyone loved them-my English relatives said they tasted like cheesy Yorkshire pudding.

        I do want to try them again for Christmas but will try another recipe I think.

        1. re: Densible

          What you've described is pretty much what I ended up with.... flat and moist (not pancake flat, but certainly not round). I'll definitely try to make them again and use gruyere and maybe some cayenne for some kick. I think the ones I made tasted so, so... kind of bland. They most definitely didn't resemble the picture from Alan Ducan's (sp?) recipe!

          1. re: Densible

            I think it may be the SP recipe. I haven't tried SP's gougeres, but the few recipes I tried from that book were off and not to my taste.

            Here is another thread about gougeres.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/460926

            1. re: beetlebug

              Not sure about that-the thread that led to both myself and OP making them was part of SP Cookbook of the Month enthusiasts and everyone reported excellent results, some even posted pics that looked wonderful-lovely little plump puffs.
              My personal experience over years of using recipes from the book led me to expect a wonderful outcome. I think that made the disappointing results more stinging.
              Oh well-I am intrigued by the water technique described below and may use it-perhaps it has something to do with steam?

        2. Gosh. I haven't made these in years, but all this talk is making me want to make these again. So I don't know why this works, but when I made it the first time around, it came out flat. Then my mom told me that when she makes choux cremes, which are essentially bigger and sweeter versions of the gougeres, she sprays water on top of each before putting them in the oven (and then don't open the oven door for a while). Anyway, I tried it and it seemed to work, but the recipe doesn't say to do this. Does anyone else do the spray water technique?

          4 Replies
          1. re: anzu

            I don't recall ever having seen a recipe that recommended spraying the gougères with water before putting them in the oven. Quite a few recipes suggest brushing them with either plain water or a combination of water and egg in order either to flatten them slightly (although, why would you want to?) or to smooth out those pointed peaks that sometimes result from jusing a pastry bag. At least one recipe I've read says that a smooth, rounded puff will rise more evenly. And RLB, in "The Pie and Pastry Bible," says that brushing the baking sheet--but not the puff itself--with water will create steam and help the puffs rise. Perhaps this was what your mother was trying to achieve by spraying the puffs.

            1. re: JoanN

              So JoanN.... do you brush yours with anything? I brushed mine with a beaten egg and sprinkled some of the parmesan on them as the recipe called for.

              1. re: cjc519

                I wet my fingers and smoothed all the rough edges for a more pleasing shape and then sprinkled some gruyere on top. Brushing with beaten egg would make them brown a bit more and help the sprinkled parmesan adhere, but I don't bother. I just pressed the gruyere down a bit so it stuck to the top, making sure not to alter the shape the gougères itself.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I have to say that even though I don't think they turned out entirely correctly they taste pretty darn good... I've been eating them all morning. Maybe they taste better the next day:) I'm going to try them again with gruyere. Thanks for all the tips!