I went searching for a recipe with Gruyère cheese since I had some leftover from Summer Squash Gratin. I had never heard of gougères before that. They are like a savory cream puff (but not filled with anything) - a light, airy center with a crunchy crust. They actually weren't too difficult to make either.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated via danatreat.com
Makes about 16
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
5 tbsp. butter, cut into 10 pieces
2 tsbp. whole milk
6 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
Pinch cayenne pepper
1. Beat the eggs and egg white in a measuring cup or small bowl; you should have 1/2 cup (discard the excess). Set aside.
2. Bring the butter, milk, water, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring once or twice. When the mixture reaches a full boil (the butter should be fully melted), immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until combined and the mixture clears the sides of the pan. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, using a smearing motion, until the mixture is slightly shiny, looks like wet sand, and tiny beads of fat appear on the bottom of the saucpan, about 3 minutes.
3. Immediately transfer the mixture to a food processor and process with the feed tube open for 10 seconds to cool slightly. With the machine running, gradually add the eggs in a steady stream, followed by the Gruyère and the cayenne pepper. When everything has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process for 30 seconds until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms. (Can be made two hours ahead. Transfer to a medium bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray directly on the surface, and store at room temperature.)
4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large (18 by 12 inch) baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set the pan aside.
5. Fold down the top 3 or 4 inches of a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip to form a cuff and fill the bag with the paste. Unfold the cuff, lay the bag on the work surface, and, using your hands or a bench scraper, push the paste toward the tip of the pastry bag. Twist the top of the bag and pipe the paste onto the prepared baking sheet into sixteen 2-inch mounds spacing about an inch and a half apart. Use the back of a teaspoon dipped in water to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the mounds.
6. Bake 15 minutes (do not open oven door), then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until golden brown and fairly firm, 12-14 minutes longer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. With a paring knife, cut a 3/4 – inch slit into the side of each puff to release steam; return puffs to the oven, turn off the oven, and prop the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Dry the puffs in the turned-off oven until center is just moist (not wet) and the surface is crisp, about 45 minutes. Transfer puffs to a rack and cool until just warm. Serve warm. (Puffs can be cooled completely and stored at room temperature for 24 hours or frozen in a zipper-lock plastic bag for up to 1 month. Before serving, crisp the room temperature puffs in a 300 degree oven 5-8 minutes; crisp the frozen puffs 8-10 minutes.)