Nicole Kaplan, one of the reigning pastry chefs in New York City, makes the most bang-up-the-ass gougères known to man. Her recipe, which was featured in a magazine clipping that I found in my mom’s bookcase, looked pretty flawless. And of course, I fucked it up! They’re really supposed to be round and puffy, like the balls of a calf, but I had to resort to piping the dough into a tiny muffin tin and baking them that way. What resulted was a sort of cancerous testicle of cave-aged Gruyère. Thanks to Natalie G. for sticking around while I puttered about in the kitchen like an unscrupulous English housewife.
- 1 c water
- 4 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 c flour
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 oz. grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring water, butter, ½ tsp salt and the cayenne to a boil in a small saucepan. Place the flour in the bowl of a mixer, add the boiling water mixture and mix with the paddle attachment, not the whisk (or use a wooden spoon in a bowl). Beat in the eggs one at a time, until the dough is smooth. Beat in the cheese and mix until the dough is thick and cheese has pretty much melted. Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment and pipe the dough in small mounds onto them. Sprinkle each with a pinch of extra grated cheese and kosher salt. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and puffed about 3 times their original size. Try not to open the oven door for the first 10-12 minutes to keep them from deflating.
Better eat them quick!