It’s no secret that I have little luck with baking, so I recently enlisted the help of my former roommate and future pastry chef extraordinaire, Gabrielle, heretofore known as Pumba.
Mission Gougères of last week was an epic failure. It could have had something to do with the flour I used or my makeshift pastry bag made from a ziplock bag (at least I’ll tell myself that!) but it could have also been my mediocre pastry skills leading to a listless pâte à choux. Most disappointing.
So hunker down and join me on my gougère lesson with Pumba. To the right, she demonstrates what a pâte à choux should look like before you bag it!
To start she preheats the oven to 400 and lines a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
Then she measures out a 1/2 cup of water and a 1/2 cup of milk, 4 ounces of butter and a pinch of salt and brings it all to a boil. Once that gets nice and hot (the aforementioned boil) she adds in 1 cup of AP flour). It will start to look something like the above right photo.
She then puts the dough in a stand mixer and lets it cool by turning the mixer on and letting it churn the dough for a few minutes until the steam subsides. Then, one by one she adds the eggs. (Though it should take about 4 eggs).
The reason she does this in steps, she explains, is because the consistency of the pâte à choux should drip to form a long oozing triangle from the tip of the mixer blade. You must make sure each egg is encorporated before adding the next one.
Here she shows Mary a dough that isn’t quite ready to be bagged and piped onto the sheets
Once the dough is at the appropriate consistency she adds the cheese (about a cup of gruyère cheese) and a pinch of nutmeg and some pepper. You should grate a little more cheese though, because she sprinkled a wonderfully heaping amount of gruyère over each gougère.
After transferring the dough into a pastry bag with a tip (she has that kind of stuff lying around, but she assured me a ziplock bag would have worked just fine!) she pipes the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
That accomplished, she sprinkles the remaining cheese over the gougères and pops them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Basically, you want to leave them in there till they turn golden brown. And with a little skill (for Gabrielle) and some future luck for me, they’ll come out perfectly!