You’ve all probably heard of gougères – those fabulous bite-sized, savory choux puffs that are a Burgundian French classic.
The problem is, I’ve never been able to make these for a get-together of any kind at my house, or when I catered either, because they’re really only good just out of the oven. Similar to a soufflé, they will deflate, so they’re not as pretty, and even if they’re kept warm, the texture will change.
I present to you another gougères option, more easily served as a first course or even as part of a lunch; thin slices can be served as hors d’oeuvres as well.
This version utilizes the same dough and cheese, but it’s a whole tart, and not individual puffs. There’s no outside crust that dries out, and the inside stays nice and moist. The dough will deflate a little after the tart is out of the oven, but the tart itself maintains its integrity, so you can let it cool a little, slice and serve.
If you’ve never made a choux dough before, don’t worry. It’s not as involved as making something like a dough for croissants. All you need is a strong arm, in fact, because there is a lot of stirring involved. I’m pretty sure you can make the dough in a stand mixer, but I make it the old-fashioned way.
My husband actually remembers the last time I made this tart, which proves how memorable it is. And I hadn’t come across the recipe till recently. You can see by the stains how many times I used it. I’d love to credit the source, but I looked online and found nothing. I think it’s funny on the recipe card that I actually changed the ingredient amounts not just once, but twice. But there’s no mention of the pan I used. Since I wasn’t sure which column was the one to follow, I went with the numbers on the very left.
As with classically-shaped gougères, the secret to this gougère tart is the cheese. Really good Gruyère – diced as well as grated for this tart.
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup, or approximately 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon butter
1 cup white flour
4 eggs, at room temperature, broken into a small bowl
7 ounces diced Gruyère
2 1/2 ounces grated Gruyère
1 egg mixed with 1/8 teaspoon of salt
Turn the oven to 375 degrees.
Generously butter a 10″ tart pan; a pan with a removable bottom is not necessary.
Have all of your ingredients on hand, and read the recipe through before you begin. Begin by melting the butter into the milk in a medium saucepan.
Add the flour, and vigorously stir the mixture for about one minute over the lowest possible heat.
It will look similar to a roux – kind of crumbly.
Let the pan cool slightly, then beat in one egg at a time, beating vigorously. There should be no heat involved any more.
By the time the second egg is added and incorporated, you can see the dough getting smoother.
When you add the fourth egg, don’t beat it in completely. Then add 2/3 of the diced Gruyère and stir to just combine.
Plop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth. Then coat the top with the egg wash.
Add the remaining diced cheese as well as the grated, and place the tart in the oven; I put my pan on a baking sheet for easier handling.
Bake for 35 minutes. You will see it rise in the oven as it puffs up.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. It should be set enough to slice easily after just about 5 minutes. The tart is cheesy, but it’s also bready.
I enjoyed my slice without even a green salad on the side. Mostly because I couldn’t wait. But it would be fabulous with a salad of tomatoes or spring greens, and it would certainly be delicious served as a first course, just a matter of minutes out of the oven.
This gougère tart would pair perfectly with a light fruity red, or a pinot grigio. No white that is too tart or too oaky.