Gougeres are essentially cheese puffs, originating in the Burgundy region of France. We've got delicious comte cheese at Zingerman's right now, so I made some for my Dad's birthday, and served them along side Schwarzwälder Schinken (smoked, cured black forest ham). I bought a bottle of medium bodied red that I've already forgotten the name of, which I drank a bit of before he arrived, as the gougeres grew cold, because he was late.
Either way, they were much easier to prepare than I had imagined and will continue to experiment with them. They're delicious on their own (best served warm), or you can fill them easily with any manner of fillings- mushrooms, beef, ham- by either slicing them in half and filling them like a sandwich, or piping the filling in through the bottom or side with a pastry bag with a small tip.
1/2 cup (125ml) water
3 tablespoons (40g) butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of chilli powder
1/2 cup (70g) flour
2 large eggs
12 chives or 1-2 T fresh thyme, finely-minced
3/4 cup grated comte cheese (or gruyere)
-Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
-Heat the water, butter, salt, and chili or pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
-Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don't 'cook.' The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out.
-Add about 3/4 of the grated cheese and the herbs, and stir until well-mixed.
-Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.
-top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, then pop the baking sheet into the oven.
-Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F/190C and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, until they're completely golden brown.