Gougeres- don’t let this foreign sounding word intimidate you. It’s French and is the name for an incredibly light and easy to make hors d’oeuvres. The pastry is the same as you would make for cream puffs, so once you have this under your belt, there’s a variety of things that you can do with it.

The pastry, called “pate au choux”, is made in a saucepan on top of the stove. No rolling or “light touch needed” for success. You melt butter with milk (or water), stir in flour and then transfer the mixture to a food processor and add eggs (or you can do this by hand with a wooden spoon). This recipe includes cheese which makes it the savory version known as gougeres. They are light and airy and are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine.

I have to tell you that I saw an article in a food magazine about how to make “pate au choux” when I was a novice cook. I went into the kitchen with recipe in hand and whipped up a batch and never looked back. It was that easy, so go for it!

Gougeres (from Ina Garten Barefoot in Paris)

1 cup milk
1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/4-inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.

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