Gougères are one of life’s simplest but most intense pleasures. They are nothing more than cheese puffs made with a pastry dough called choux, which is usually used for desserts like profiteroles and eclairs, combined with a top notch cheese, traditionally gruyere. Milk, butter, flour, eggs, salt, cheese: how much more basic can you get? And yet, after a little cooking, a little blending, a little baking, you wind up with something that’s not basic at all, but spectacular and special.
Like everything that’s worth having or doing, gougères require just the right ingredients and just a modicum of skill in the kitchen. They do take a little time, but not so much that you’re stuck in the kitchen all day when you’d rather be in the garden. And gougères have that quality that puts a smile on the faces of all home cooks who love to entertain but who also love to spend time with their guests: you can prepare them in advance, stick them in the freezer, and pop them in the oven when your guests arrive. Half an hour later, toss the little puffs into a nice serving bowl and watch them disappear. No doubt about it, gougères will earn you a place in the appetizer record books.