A gougere is formed from the same dough as a cream puff, but with the addition of cheese. Quite easy to make, tiny gougeres are one of the most popular amuse-gueules. They may be eaten plain, or slit open and filled with a teaspoon of such savory fillings as brandade of salt cod, minced shrimp and green peppers, or salmon roe mixed with mascarpone cheese.
1 cup water
6½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
¼ cup (30g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup (30g) finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  1. In a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized saucepan, bring the water, 6 tablespoons of the butter, salt, and cayenne pepper to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until butter melts, then remove from heat. Pour in the flour, beating for a few moments with a wooden spoon to blend and bind the ingredients. Return to medium-high heat and continue to beat vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and holds together, about 2 minutes.
  2. Again remove the saucepan from the heat. Make a well in the center of the paste and break an egg into it. Beat to incorporate the egg. Repeat until all 4 eggs have been added and the mixture has become a smooth paste. Now beat in all of the Parmesan and half of the Gruyere.
  3. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a baking sheet with the remaining ½ tablespoon butter.
  4. Fill a cup with hot water. Dip a tablespoon first into the hot water and then into the pastry. Using your finger, or another spoon, push the spoonful of pastry onto the baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the puffs about 2 inches apart. Using a pastry brush, coat only the top surface of the puff with the egg-water mixture. Do not allow the egg mixture to dribble down the sides or it will bind the pastry to the baking sheet and prevent puffing. Sprinkle each puff with a few shreds of the reserved Gruyere cheese.
  5. Bake until the puffs are golden brown and have increased in size 1½ times, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and pierce each with a skewer to release the steam. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving (or slitting, if they are going to be stuffed). Serve warm or at room temperature.
From Apertif by Georgeanne Brennan