Gougères (Cheese Puffs)

Gougères (Cheese Puffs)Matt Taylor-Gross

When you are 20, living in Paris, and subsisting on buttered baguettes and Gitanes, dinner out anywhere is a treat. One arranged for you by your generous godfather at the legendary restaurant Taillevent is a miracle. I'll never forget the meal's opening salvo, a silver tray holding burnished Gruyere pastry puffs called gougeres, which arrived steaming from the oven, exuding the swoon-inducing scent of toasted cheese. They were featherlight, tender, and silky with eggs and butter, far more fragile than my familiar baguettes yet far more savory. Tasting such intense flavor in a tiny wisp of choux pastry was astonishing, a promise of the wonders still to come. —Elizabeth Gunnison, a New York-based writer