Leavened with steam
Gougere, pronounced ‘gou / zhehr’ whether singular or plural, is a puff made with choux pastry and cheese. Pâte à choux, pronounced ‘paht-ah-SHOO’, is a thick but spoonable batter made with flour, butter, eggs and water or sometimes milk. Choux pastry is often used in desserts like eclairs and profiteroles (cream puffs) and filled with ice, whipped or pastry cream then drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce or dusted with powdered sugar.
Whether a savory gougere or sweet version, it’s leavened with steam rather than a leavening agent like yeast, baking powder or baking soda. The batter is baked at a high temperature to create enough steam to leaven the puffs then finished at a lower temperature to complete baking.
Choux is French for cabbage. These puffs were so named because when the little balls of batter are baked they puff up and look like little cabbages. What makes these Parmesan Gougeres so good is they’re crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. They have some salty, nutty freshly grated Parmesan cheese mixed into the batter and dusted on top plus a hint of garlic. The bonus is you can make this light puffy accompaniment for dinner by mixing then baking, skipping the raising time in between. Could this delicate, savory puff find it’s way into a week night dinner menu?
2011 AniversaRecipe – Graham Cracker Crust
Recipe: Parmesan Gougeres
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 24 Minutes | Yield: 15 Puffs | Level: Easy
- 1 stick butter
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup flour
- 5 eggs, divided
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
Special Equipment – baking sheet
1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 Melt butter with garlic over medium low heat in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter is melted, cook for 1-2 minutes until butter barely begins to turn golden and the edges of the garlic barely take on color, don’t brown. Discard the garlic.
3 Add milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until it begins to froth and small bubbles begin to appear around the edge. Do not boil.
4 Add the flour and stir vigorously with a large spoon until the dough clumps. Cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Take off the heat.
6 Using a spoon, small ice cream scoop or pastry bag, make 15 mounds of dough on the prepared baking sheet about 3 tablespoons each leaving enough space between for expanding and rising.
7 Beat the remaining egg and brush on the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and puffy.
Serve with salads, soups or entrees.
- Exchange the milk for water.
- Exchange the Parmesan cheese for Gruyere.
Inspiration – Ina Garten
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: November 19, 2012