Gougeres are French Cheese Puffs served with pre dinner cocktails, as finger food at parties, and in place of boring bread rolls to dunk into soups and stews. One of the best things I ate in France!
Simple to make, they reheat 100% perfectly – but the best part is smugly telling your friends “they’re French, darling” (I hear this in a posh British accent).
Gougeres recipe – French Cheese Puffs!
This Gougeres recipe comes to you via the hostess of a charming bed & breakfast called La Saura in Burgundy, France. We had a week long stay there just a couple of months ago, using it as our home base to explore the region.
And after a long day of sight seeing, there are no words to describe our delight when we arrived back at the villa to be greeted with a pile of warm cheese puffs, fresh out of the oven, washed down with sparkling Kir Royales.
So very chic. So French!!
What Gougeres taste like
They’re crusty on the outside, soft and hollow on the inside, and they’re very, very cheesy. Essentially, they are the savoury cheesy version of everybody’s favourite Profiteroles!
As with profiteroles, I’ve been tempted to pipe something into the hollow centre. But to be honest, these cheese puffs have enough flavour as they are – certainly plenty of cheese – so anything more would just make it overly rich.
Plus, the light-as-air texture is the signature feature of Gougeres! (Also, here’s how to pronounce Gougeres 😂)
What you need for Gougeres (Cheese Puffs)
Here’s what you need to make Gougeres. It’s adapted from this recipe (it’s in French!), with the minor change being an increase in cheese (under instruction from Jocelyn the B&B host who gave me this recipe!😂).
Best cheese for Gougeres
The cheese that is traditionally used is gruyere, Emmental or Comte. I’ve also made these with Swiss, cheddar and tasty (Aussie/NZ cheese) and they came out just as good. So I imagine they will be just fine with any other cheese as long as it’s the melting sort (ie not feta, parmesan, ricotta).
Also, I’d recommend avoiding mozzarella – it doesn’t have enough flavour or salt.
IMPORTANT: Grate the cheese yourself, unless you’re fortunate enough to be living in France in which case you have access to the finely shredded Emmental sold at the shops. Typically, store bought grated cheese is thicker than shredding your own, so it might weigh down the batter and prevent your Gougeres from puffing up which would be so sad. 😢
How to make Gougeres
These French Cheese Puffs are as fabulously easy to make as they are to eat. The part where the egg is mixed in does require some vigorous mixing to incorporate the egg fully – it’s a good arm work out! If you want to take a more leisurely path, just use an electric beater. 🙂
How to serve Gougeres
Ah, the best part – how to eat them!!
In France, they are served as appetisers and on the side of meals in place of boring old dinner rolls.😉
Gougeres are placed on tables in bread baskets before the meal is served, to nibble on then to dunk into soups and thick stews, and mop plates clean. Here are a few suggestions for dishes to create your own French Provincial extravaganza!
Pre dinner nibbles
Serve them as finger food at parties, or pre dinner nibbles with cocktails – specifically, Kir Royales (French champagne cocktail) if you want to be on theme!
In fact, the actual Gougeres in the photos and most of the ones in the video (some fell into my mouth🤷🏻♀️) were taken to a Christmas party the next day. They go soft after they cool down, but a few minutes in the oven was all they needed to resurrect their perfect crispy exteriors, so they are 100% perfect for making ahead! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
French Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)
- 1 cup (250ml) water
- 80g / 5.5 tbsp butter , unsalted, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.5" cubes
- 1 cup (150g) flour , plain / all purpose
- 3/4 tsp salt , kosher/cooking salt
- Pinch nutmeg (powder or freshly grated)
- Pinch black pepper
- 4 eggs (~60 - 65g / 2oz each)
- 200g / 2 cups Gruyère cheese , freshly shredded (Note 1)
- 50g / 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, extra , freshly shredded (Note 1)
- 1 egg yolk , for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F (200°C fan). Lightly grease 2 trays then line with parchment / baking paper.
- Place water, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil until butter is full melted.
- Remove from stove, add flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix until incorporated.
- Return to stove on LOW heat and mix for 1 minute (this dries the mixture out, see video for before/after).
- Remove from stove, leave for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 egg, mix vigorously until incorporated - batter splits at first, but it always comes together!
- Add 3 more eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next. Good arm workout! (Or use electric beater)
- Stir in 2 cups cheese.
- Drop 1 tablespoon mounds onto trays (small cookie scoop is ideal, otherwise use a measuring tablespoon and a teaspoon to scrape out. Can make larger - good for dunking!)
- Brush with yolk, then top with a pinch of reserved Cheese for topping.
- Bake 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes so they become crusty and inside dries out a bit.
- Serve warm as pre dinner nibbles, finger food at gatherings, or dunk into soups and stews!
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