Gruyère Gougères: A Recipe for French Cheese Puffs

Gruyère gougères are savory cheese puffs. They’re very popular in France, especially as an hors d’oeuvres. I learned how to make them when I was working as an au pair in France. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

When I found out the 16-year old girl I tutor was throwing a house party, my first thought was “Awesome. Now I finally have a reason to make gougères.” Because what classes up a boozy teenage soirée like a bunch of fancy French cheese puffs?

But in all seriousness, gougères are a classic apéro choice here in baguette-land.

(Random fact- in France they never use the word hors d’oeuvres- it’s a really old-fashioned and out-of-date term. Nowadays they say apéritif, often shortened to apéro.)

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The most difficult part of making gougères is rolling the dough into little balls. (Always one to avoid extra dishes, I choose to make them by hand rather than use a mixer.) The difficulty here is that the dough starts to stick to your fingers and you have to wash your hands every few minutes- a problem I fixed by powdering my hands with flour after each gougère. I basically roll them like chocolate chip cookie dough. (In retrospect, it would be easier to use a piping bag or a spoon to do this).

The process is kind of long, but it goes by much faster with company. I rolled them with Zoe, the 13-year old I take care of, and we actually had a lot of fun! It’s a very kid-friendly recipe.

Because gougères are technically a dish from Burgundy (La Bourgogne) I recommend serving them with a nice, cold glass of white Burgundy. I prefer them served hot, so my advice is to prepare the dough in advance and then pop them in the oven right before the soirée begins.

The un-cooked gougères we rolled…

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And voila! Paris party magic.

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 You can get pretty creative with this recipe- Chocolate & Zucchini adds cumin to hers while David Lebovitz uses several cheeses, including Comté and Parmesan.

If I were making this stateside, I know I would add some white cheddar. Yum.

Easy Gruyère Gougères Recipe

Serving: Makes about 30 bite-sized cheese puffs

Tip: Make sure to prep all of the ingredients before you start. If you leave the water to boil while you prep, you will lose too much of it and have to restart.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of gruyère (1.5 cups shredded, 1/2 cup cut into small cubes)

 Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the water, salt, and butter. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add the flour quickly and mix well. Put the saucepan back on the stove.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the dough doesn’t stick to the pot or the spoon.
  5. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the eggs one at a time. Continue to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the shredded gruyère and stir well.
  7. Using a spoon or a piping bag, form balls of dough and place them on a greased baking sheet. Mine were very small – about 1 tablespoon in size, but you can make them whatever size you want.
  8. Place the cubes of gruyère on the dough balls.
  9. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes and then at 375F for 25 minutes.

*I adapted this recipe from Françoise Bernard.

Have you ever tried gougères?

P.S. How to Make Tarte Flambée and a Classic Recipe for Quiche Lorraine.

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