This beautiful, savory, French pastry smells heavenly while it's baking. It is simple elegance when served as a first course with a glass of champagne, and is something your guests won't forget. But perhaps the best thing about a Gougere, and one thing that many cooks don't realize, it's super easy to make and can be prepared in the morning, refrigerated, and baked just before serving.
1 C milk
1/2 C (one stick) butter
1 tsp. salt
1 C flour
1 tsp. prepared Dijon style mustard
1 tsp. chopped fresh herbs (optional) I like to use tarragon and chives if I have them.
1 C grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 C grated fresh Parmesan cheese (plus an optional two tablespoons to top the puff)
Combine milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and immediately dump in all the flour. Stir vigorously for one minute with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a mass in the middle. Let rest for 5 minutes. Put mixture in food processor, and process with steel blade adding the 5 eggs, one at a time. Add prepared mustard and optional herbs and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add both cheeses and pulse until just just mixed.
On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and with a large spoon, plop spoonfuls down in a wreath-like shape, see below. Sprinkle with optional 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and a few chopped fresh herbs if desired.
At this point you can loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. About one hour before serving, take out of the refrigerator to get to room temperature. To bake, put in center rack of preheated 350F oven and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Immediately slice into wedges and serve with a fork. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or first course. It's particularly memorable when served with champagne.
If you have a crowd for cocktails, gougere can also be made into little puffs making it easier to serve.