I decided to have a go at choux pastry today. My first time. All handmade, as I haven’t got a mixer.
Choux pastry is a fascinating thing. It does not seem right. The flour is cooked with butter to make a rue, then it is cooled. Then, you add eggs. One at a time. Mixing well after every egg until you end up with a lovely, smooth, shiny pate that just runs off a spoon in ribbons.
Did I mention I mixed this all by hand? Whew. Man, that’s rough. Quit whinging. Get over it.
Oh, yeah. I added too many eggs. The pate was a bit runny. In fact, it was drizzling out the nozzle as I filled the piping bag. Choux dripped all about the counter. I managed to pipe some onto a baking tray. It didn’t hold it’s shape and flattened out – probably because it was too runny.
I filled two baking trays and put them in the oven. Then, I realised the bottom tray was not cooking like the top tray, so I had to switch the trays part way through.
That was a mistake. Choux pastry is a very high hydration dough which creates heaps of steam in the hot oven. The steam is what expands the dough. Unless you open the oven door and let the steam out…
Then, I turned the oven down and left the door cracked open slightly, to let the remaining steam out slowly and help crisp the shells. Only, I did not end up cooking them long enough to crisp. When I took the gougeres out of the oven they were flattened. Oh well.
Next time, I can check one gougere before I take them all out of the oven.
Yes, next time. Because I will make more, rest assured. They taste just as good.
This recipe is based on the recipe for Beer and Cheddar Cheese Gougeres over at A Cozy Kitchen.
Beer & Cheddar Cheese Gougeres
113g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup beer (I used Rogue Brutal IPA)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
142g all purpose flour
5 large eggs (hold back the last egg to see if you need it)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 205C/400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, beer, and salt and bring to rolling boil over medium high heat, then remove pan from heat and pour in all the flour at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. Place pan back over medium heat and continue to stir until the dough dries out, pulls away from the pan, and begins to break into chunks, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the dough into a bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add one egg to the dough and beat with wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. At first it may seem as though the dough is broken, but continue to stir and with time, the dough will come right. Alternatively, you could use a mixer. The dough should appear shiny, smooth, and should fall back on itself in ribbons when you lift the spoon. At this point, stir in the finely grated cheese and take a much needed break to recover from all that mixing.
4. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a 13mm (1/2 inch) round tip and pipe out tablespoon size mounds onto the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Alternatively, use a scoop or spoon to place a dollop of dough onto the baking sheet.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg wash ingredients: the egg, milk, and salt. Lightly brush the tops of each gougeres with the egg wash, then sprinkle each one with a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR during this time, as you will let out steam and the gougeres will go flat. After 15-20 minutes, decrease the oven’s heat to 175C/350F and open the oven door so it sits ajar (I used a metal spoon to keep the door slightly cracked open). Bake for an additional 10 minutes to help dry out the gougeres. Remove from oven and cool on wire cooling racks. Serve warm.
Makes 2 dozen small gougers.