This recipe makes gougères that are custardy in the center, with a little nuttiness and crunch from optional walnuts. If you prefer a firmer puff, use four eggs instead of five. I like a mix of cheeses, but one cheese makes great gougères, too—even a very un-French cheddar. Feel free to scoop out and freeze the dough in advance, then bake gougères directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.
Every December 31st, the dessert wizard invites a hodgepodge group of old and new friends for a perfect French fête, complete with oysters, gougères, and huge bottles of champagne by the Seine
- 2⁄3 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1⁄2 cup whole milk
- 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, chopped
- 1 1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 cup (3 oz.) coarsely grated Comté
- 1 cup (3 oz.) coarsely grated Gruyère
In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, add the walnuts over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2–4 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly, then finely chop.
Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a medium saucepan, add the water, milk, butter, and salt; bring to a rapid boil. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon or whisk until a dough forms. Keep stirring to dry the dough slightly, 1–2 minutes more.
Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium bowl. Let sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, beating until incorporated. (Dough may appear to separate, but it will come together by the time the last egg goes in.) Beat in the mustard, then the cheeses and walnuts.
Using a small (1 1⁄2 teaspoon) cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each. Transfer to the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 375°. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden, and firm enough to pick up, 15–20 minutes more. Remove and serve immediately.