Updated: Dec 14, 2019
These sinfully delicious cheesy puffs can also be made gluten free
I first had these at my friend HB's house, and then I begged her for the recipe. She sent me it and I was aghast as how technical they sounded - to be honest a little bit like too much hard work. But, when someone has been good enough to dig out their recipe and scan it in or take a pic of it and then send it to you, well, I feel you owe it to them to try. I've now made these so many times I can't tell you, and I think nothing of boiling butter, getting the piping bag out and heating the oven just so.
As you can see, I really have kept this recipe to hand and have it stuck to the fridge so that I can refer to the exact amounts needed for different-sized batches.
And yes, one of those batch sizes is for 60. Don't judge me. I do in fact make them for wine tastings as I think they go exceptionally well with almost all wines, but especially Champagne and also Burgundy, where I have a feeling gougere originally came from.
If you find it hard to squint at the picture and can't read my spidery scrawl, fear not - I shall list the ingredients for a 'small' batch of around 20 now:
125g flour (can be replaced with Dove's Farm GF flour with no need to alter recipe)
Up to 3 eggs, depending on size, beaten
Good heaped tbsp grated gruyere
Half tsp mustard powder
Quarter tsp paprika
Ground black pepper
You will also a thick-bottomed sauce pan, a piping bag, the oven going at 200C (standard) and lined baking trays. You can up the ratios to make any sized batch you like, however the batch for 60 is about the limit my large saucepan can take.
Start by pouring the measured water into the saucepan and add the butter, cut up into chunks. Up to you if you add the salt to this mixture or the dry ingredients - just depends when you remember.
While this is coming to the boil and the butter is melting, measure out your flour and mix into it the mustard powder, paprika, pepper and salt if you haven't already added it to the buttery water.
Once the water has come to the boil and the butter has melted, take it off the heat completely (I take it off the hob and put it on a heatproof mat so that no more water evaporates) and tip in your flour mixture. Quickly stir it into the liquid, though not so idiotically that you get it everywhere (so speaks the voice of experience).
You will end up with a really lovely squidgy dough that slightly glistens due to the butter and that comes together almost instantly as you stir. Give it a bit of a mix so that all of the flour is combined and then leave it to cool slightly as you prepare your eggs. Reason for this is that you don't want to add the eggs to a hot pan or dough as else they'll scramble and cook rather than be incorporated.
With your eggs, I'd suggest beating together two out of the three first and see how you get on - you will probably need all three, or at least two and a bit, but what you don't want to do is add all the egg at once in case you have massive ones and therefore too much and the mixture becomes irretrievably sloppy. I like to add my grated cheese to the egg but you can just add it to the mixture as you go.
Now, this is the first hard bit. Gradually add the egg and mix. It is HARD work and your shoulder will ache. Don't be put off by this, or the fact that the mixture will look sloppy for two seconds before absorbing the egg. Keep going with egg and cheese until you have a mixture that is the consistency of mashed potato - something you could pipe easily but will hold its shape.
At this point you need your piping bag. I use those big industrial blue ones. If you don't have one, a sandwich bag should do the trick. The aim is to fill the bag with the mixture and before you cut the end off (up to about 1.5cm) swing it around your head, holding tight! This will force all the mixture to the end of the bag and get rid of air pockets.
Once ready to go, start piping little 'wizard's hats' of mixture onto your lined baking sheets. Keep the piping bag quite vertical - think of it like a mini Mr Whippy machine. You don't need to be exact or make them look pretty at this point, but what I do do is wet a finger with water or any left over egg and squish down any little pointy tops.
Next - the easy, yet also most important bit. Put them in the oven and DON'T open that oven door for at least 15 minutes, or until they've done their rising. I think they take between 17-20 minutes in all and you want to take them out when they're just golden.
Just look at them. Aren't they glorious?
Goes to my friend HB who serves these at all her dinner parties and is amazing at making them before Sunday lunches too! #hostessgoals
It's only recently that I've started to muck around with the recipe. You can, of course, change up your cheese choice and I think the original recipe from HB's book suggested cheddar. I like adding in some blue cheese occasionally, like Dolce Latte or St Agur, just make sure you really get it well mixed in. I also added mustard and paprika to the original recipe and recently I chopped in fresh thyme as I beat in the egg. That worked really well - see top pic. Basically, see how you feel, but as long as your flour, egg, butter and water ratios are correct, you should be fine.