Choux pastry, or pâte à choux, is a light-as-air pastry that is uses its high moisture content to create steam that puffs the dough while cooking instead of using a leavening agent like baking powder or yeast. It is the basis for many decadent desserts such as profiteroles, éclairs and croquembouches as well as savoury hors d’oeurve like these gougères I made for a dinner party we had the other night.
Once these cheese puffs have baked and cooled they can be eaten as is or filled using a piping bag with any number of fillings, such as my salmon mousse, or cut in half and filled with scrambled eggs, mini hamburger patties, or any other savoury filling you can think of.
1 cup milk
1 stick of unsalted butter
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup flour
3 large eggs
1¼ cups of grated Gruyère cheese, cave aged if you can find it (reserve ¼ cup for topping)
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan
¼ cup or more of finely chopped chives – I use a pair of scissors
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk for egg wash
Preheat oven to 425°F
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine milk, butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne in saucepan, heat on medium till scalded, when the milk begins to bubble around edges.
Reduce heat to low, add all flour at once and stir continuously till mixture comes together.
Continue stirring for 2 minutes or until film begins to coat the bottom of pan.
Put hot mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
With mixer on medium speed add eggs one at a time, then add cheeses and chives.
Mix until smooth.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with mixture. Alternatively use a freezer bag with a corner cut off.
Pipe mounds a little over an inch in diameter and less than an inch high onto the lined baking sheets.
Using a finger or pastry brush dipped in egg wash, pat down the swirl on top of each gougère allowing the egg wash to drip down each puff.
Top each puff with a sprinkling of gruyère.
Bake in oven for 15-19 minutes, or until nicely browned but still soft inside.
Let rest on cooling rack until room temperature.
Serve any way you wish.