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Gougères (Cheese Puffs)

Gougères (Cheese Puffs)

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They’ll never know they’re gluten free unless you tell!

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell!

What are gougères?

Gougères are basically cheese puffs, made with a silky, smooth, pipable and scoopable pastry called a choux pastry (pronounced “choo”). If you add cheese as we did here, they’re gougères, which sounds fancy because it has a French accent mark on it, and the second “g” is a soft g. If you don’t add cheese, they’re cream puffs, which can be split and served with ice cream and chocolate sauce and you have profiteroles. Voilà!

Instead of shying away from the fact that it’s French, I say we go for it (/please don’t say ‘lean in’ to it I’m begging/). We don’t have to pretend that we’re too cool to pretend to be cool with our French-sounding cheese puffs. We can just be cool. 😎

These make such a lovely presentation, with relative ease (you just have to clean up the food processor, which personally I hate but these are worth it!), and they’re perfect for serving as a holiday appetizer. Picture these beautiful puffs served with some sparkling wine.🍷So festive!

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell!

Oh, so they’re popovers?

Not exactly… Gougères are really similar to popovers, which I’ve made with grated cheese in them as well. But they’re not exactly the same. And there’s even an argument to be made that they’re better than popovers.

Both choux pastry and popovers have the same basic ingredients: butter, milk, flour, and eggs. Neither popovers nor gougères have any sort of chemical leavener like baking soda or baking powder. But somehow they both still puff up like crazy in the oven, creating a light, airy puff with a creamy bottom. 

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell!

How are they different from popovers, then?

The difference in the end result between popovers and choux pastry is in the balance of ingredients. Popovers, when raw, are more of a batter than a dough, as it’s a bit thinner and choux pastry is a richer dough.

There’s about twice as much butter in choux pastry as in popovers, and the choux pastry dough is cooked on the stovetop before the eggs (and cheese, if any) are added in a food processor or blender and processed until smooth. 

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell!

No special equipment needed

Popovers really do require a special popover pan. To puff up big and proud, they need to be in a muffin-like pan that has deep wells that are far apart from one another. That allows the hot air of the oven to circulate all around each well, giving it a boost right away.

Gougères do not require a special pan. They don’t even really require a pastry piping bag, since a disposable zip-top bag with the corner cut off will do just fine.

Since choux pastry doesn’t require a pan, you can make them any size you like. You can pipe them into tiny mounds as you see in the photos in this post, or you can pipe them larger as you see in the how-to video in this post. 

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell!

Ingredients and substitutions

Sadly, choux pastry does not lend itself to being made egg-free, since this recipe calls for 4 whole eggs. I’m afraid I can’t imagine an egg substitute getting that job done. 

Dairy-free: Making this recipe dairy free has its challenges, as you’d have to replace the cow’s milk, butter, and cheese with dairy-free alternatives, but I’m actually somewhat optimistic that it can be done. I’ve made popovers with dairy-free substitutes and they’ve come out pretty good.

Here’s what I suggest. Replace the cow’s milk with unsweetened almond milk, the butter with Melt brand VeganButter (or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand), and the cheese with Daiya brand shredded cheese.

The lightest cheese puffs will be made with my gluten free pastry flour blend, which contains nonfat dry milk, but you can instead use 104 grams Better Batter gluten free flour + 18 grams blanched finely ground almond flour + 18 grams cornstarch instead of the blend listed in the recipe.

Corn-free: The cornstarch in the pastry flour blend can be replaced with arrowroot to make this recipe corn-free. 

 

There are just 5 basic ingredients in these simple but fancy little cheese puffs with the funny French name, gougères. They'll never know they're gluten free unless you tell! #glutenfree #gf #frenchpastry #gougeres #cheese #bread

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 20 puffs

Ingredients

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) milk (not nonfat milk!)

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (140 g) gluten free pastry flour (113 grams Better Batter gluten free flour or other similar blend + 12 grams nonfat dry milk + 15 grams cornstarch)

4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature

4 ounces semi-hard cheese like Gruyère or sharp cheddar, grated

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a medium-size saucepan, place the milk, butter, and salt, and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to simmer. Turn off the heat and add the pastry flour, stirring vigorously. Turn the heat back on to medium-low and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the pan and comes together in a ball, about 2 minutes. A thin film will form on the bottom of the pan. Set the mixture aside to cool until no longer hot to the touch (about 3 minutes) so you don’t scramble the eggs in the next step.

  • Transfer half of the dough to a food processor or blender. Pour about half of the eggs on top, then the rest of the dough and the remaining eggs. Pulse the mixture in the blender or food processor until the mixture is smooth and well-blended. Add the cheese, and pulse until the dough is completely smooth. Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a large, plain piping tip that is about 1 -inch in diameter (or smaller for smaller puffs). Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet into about twenty mounds, each about 1 1/4-inches in diameter, leaving about 1 1/2-inches between puffs. With wet fingers, gently smooth the tops of the pastries so there’s nothing protruding from the dough that might burn during baking.

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden brown all over, about 18 minutes (or less, depending upon size). For the most stable pastries, turn off the oven after they’re finished baking, prop the oven door open and allow the pastries to sit in the oven as it cools, or for at least 10 minutes. Remove the pastries from the oven and serve immediately.

  • Adapted from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Flora
    December 31, 2018 at 3:07 PM

    Can you use your mock better batter for this recipe ?

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 31, 2018 at 4:48 PM

      You can use my mock Better Batter and add the cornstarch and nonfat dry milk to it as directed in the recipe to make the pastry flour, or you can just use Cup4Cup as a pastry flour, Flora. Hope that helps!

  • Judi Smith
    December 29, 2018 at 2:10 AM

    I made the gougeres cheese puffs and followed the recipe. The dough spread when piped through the plastic bag rather than forming balls – so wasn’t thick enough? The gougeres didn’t rise much and fell even flatter when cooled. Too much liquid? Eggs too large? However, 2 year old grandson loves them as they are and is munching his way through the batch. Will try again with 3 eggs.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 29, 2018 at 2:42 PM

      There are many ways in which you could have deviated from the recipe as written, Judi, and I’m afraid without more information I don’t have any way of knowing. Common errors include using a flour blend that isn’t the one I specify, measuring by volume instead of weight, or making other substitutions.

  • Jane
    December 26, 2018 at 4:06 PM

    Just irks me that Better Batter and Jules flour is so expensive. Would love to make a variety of recipes posted on the internet by different people, but good grief, to purchase the flour they say to use is just so overpriced!

  • Virginia Choursoulidi
    December 24, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    I just took the first tray out of the oven and I am eating them all! My 11 y old picky coeliac loves them! Thank you Nicole! Now I can make profiteroles and maybe fill them with ganache or ice cream even go further with different cheeses and herbs in the dough! Million thanks!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 24, 2018 at 11:54 AM

      That all sounds amazing, Virginia! Lots of possibilities. You’re so very welcome.

  • Mindi
    December 24, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    Must you use “pastry” flour vs any other gluten free flour? To make right away no time to order special gfs flour blend.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 24, 2018 at 11:53 AM

      It’s not really a special blend, Mindi, it’s just an all purpose gluten free flour + 2 additions. If you make them without the additions, and replace them with more of one of my recommended all purpose flour blends, you’ll get a heavier, less puffy result.

  • Mimi
    December 24, 2018 at 9:04 AM

    Hi Nicole. I can’t thank you enough for your recipes. I myself appreciate you using both measurements:) why someone would complain about that is amusing. And you also did mention the eclair recipe in the post. Just know I think most people are clapping as they read your well written recipes and ideas. I can’t wait to make these.
    Happy holidays to everyone. Mimi

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 24, 2018 at 11:52 AM

      Hahaha Mimi I appreciate your saying that! Luckily, I tend not to take many things personally. This business does require a thick skin, but comments like yours certainly help. 😊

  • Janet Paula
    December 23, 2018 at 4:18 PM

    I plan on making these tomorrow morning but I have a question first. In the country where I live, GF mixes aren’t very good. Can your GF mixture be substituted with either quinoa, buckwheat, rice, teff or almond flour? What can I substitute for the 12 grams nonfat dry milk which I don’t have? Thank you very much.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 24, 2018 at 11:51 AM

      I’m afraid you can’t use those flours, Janet. Sorry!

  • Marie E McCauley
    December 23, 2018 at 1:11 PM

    Can one use a mixer in place of a food processor? Don’t have one

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2018 at 1:32 PM

      I’m afraid you can’t use a mixer, but you can use a blender, Marie.

  • April Dee
    December 23, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    I like to read comments submitted by folks who have made the recipe first then comment. In this case I cannot contain myself to say, I made gougeres for decades before wheat became an issue for me. To find your recipe this morning made me so happy. It is an item that really impresses. I am looking forward to trying this one for the holidays with a cold glass of champagne. By the way I have been very pleased with your site and all the recipes I have tried. Have a Happy!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2018 at 1:54 PM

      They really do impress, don’t they, April Dee?! Some gougères and a cold glass of champagne sounds like a dream…

  • Julie L
    December 23, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    These look superb, Nicole! I’ve not had choux pastry for the better part of a decade and this post brings wonderful memories of a French bakery I used to frequent. Thank you so much for what you do! I’ll certainly be adding these to my regular rotation!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2018 at 1:33 PM

      Aw, Julie, that’s so wonderful. Thank you for the kind note!

  • Shawna
    December 22, 2018 at 9:45 PM

    Mine were too runny to pipe oh, what did I do wrong

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 23, 2018 at 8:52 AM

      There are so many variables, Shawna, that I’m afraid I can’t know where you deviated from the recipe. Measuring by weight, not volume, not making any substitutions and paying attention to temperature instructions (like waiting until the mixture in the saucepan is no longer hot before adding the eggs and cheese) all play roles.

  • Bill Donnelly
    December 20, 2018 at 7:48 AM

    The last line says to serve immediately. Will the get too hard or dry out if made ahead (i.e. the night before a holiday dinner)?

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 20, 2018 at 9:23 AM

      They really are best when made immediately before serving, Bill, but they can be made ahead of time, stored in a sealed container at room temperature and then refreshed in a 300°F oven right before serving. I hope that helps!

  • Joan
    December 19, 2018 at 4:03 PM

    In Canada, these are cream puffs or eclairs .We pipe real whipped cream inside and coat the top in chocolate.
    Your recipe is odd, you cite both metric and imperial meeasurement. Can you use one or the other please.

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 20, 2018 at 9:22 AM

      These are savory, made with cheese, Joan. I discuss the relationship between cream puffs and this recipe in the text of the post. And I have a separate recipe on the blog for eclairs, which again are different from gougères. I prefer weight measurements as they are much more accurate, but include corresponding volume measurements since not everyone in the U.S. especially, where most of my audience lives, is comfortable measuring by weight.

  • Jeana
    December 19, 2018 at 2:26 PM

    Can I use whole milk in this recipe? Can I bake these on the silicone baking pan liners?
    Thanks for so much help making our first “whole-family” gluten free holiday so much more delicious!!

    • Nicole Hunn
      December 19, 2018 at 2:52 PM

      Hi, Jeana, yes! Whole milk is perfect. And you can definitely use your silicone liners, but I do find that they brown differently when I bake them on parchment versus silicone. I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s something I’ve noticed. And I’m so glad you’re doing a fully GF family holiday. So much easier!

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