The recipe for a classic French savory puff pastry came from the mother-daughter duo who founded The Cook’s Atelier, a cooking school, epicurean center and wine shop in Beaune, France. They occasionally add a teaspoon of freshly ground mustard seeds and a teaspoon of Dijon to the dough to give these little cheese puffs extra zip. Depending on the season and what is growing in their herb garden, they sometimes add freshly picked thyme or chopped chives as well.
- 4 eggs
- 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) coarsely grated Comté cheese, plus finely grated Comté cheese for sprinkling
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 of the eggs until the yolk and white are combined. Set aside. Crack the remaining 3 eggs into a separate bowl or a measuring pitcher; do not whisk. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sea salt and 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) water. Heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Immediately add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan and a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan. Continue to beat the mixture over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes more to remove the excess moisture from the dough.
Using a wooden spoon, beat 1 of the whole eggs into the dough until thoroughly combined. Beat in the remaining whole eggs 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat just enough of the reserved whisked egg into the dough until it is shiny and just falls from the spoon. (You might not need to add any of the beaten egg, depending on the size of your eggs. You want the dough to be slightly shiny and thick enough so that it just slowly falls from the spoon. If the dough is thin enough to fall off the spoon in a stream, your gougères will turn out flat. If in doubt, it is better to err on the side of slightly dry dough.) Beat the coarsely grated Comté cheese into the dough.
Using a small spoon, drop the dough by the rounded tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care to make each gougère the same size and avoiding flattening them. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each gougère with the remaining beaten egg and lightly sprinkle the top of each with a little of the finely grated cheese.
Bake the gougères until they have puffed, are nicely browned and feel light for their size, about 25 minutes. Serve warm straight from the oven, or transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days and rewarmed in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 24 gougères.
The Cook’s Atelier, Beaune, France