Annabel’s friend and clever cook Lois lives in France for a few months each year. This is her recipe and we have to say it’s addictive. The mixture can be kept in the fridge in its piping bag for up to 3 days and piped out and baked as needed, or you can freeze the piped-out balls free-flow and store them in the freezer in bags. They keep well like this — just thaw when needed and then toss with cheese and bake. It’s a slightly different formula to Annabel’s choux base but here you are not looking for a crisp pastry shell — gougère needs to be soft and almost slightly creamy inside. We always use scales for this recipe.
Snacks & Starters
225g butter, diced
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
275g plain flour
6–7 medium eggs, (size 6)
2 cups grated cheese, such as gruyère, comté or parmesan
Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake and line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Place water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium pot and heat until butter melts.
As mixture comes to a simmer, add in all the flour and stir over the heat until it comes away from the sides of the pot in a smooth, very thick paste.
Continue cooking for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and cool for 1 minute.
Transfer to an electric beater and beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Stop after the sixth egg and check the mixture – it should be sticky and soft enough to drop from the spoon, but not spread out and lose its shape when spooned onto the trays.
You can either drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto prepared trays or use a piping bag or plastic bag with a hole (about 2cm) cut at the end.
Drop the balls of mixture one at a time into a bowl of grated cheese and toss to coat.
Place back on prepared trays, allowing plenty of room in between as they more than double in size.
Bake until puffed and golden and fully set on the base (18 to 20 minutes).
Open the door to let all the steam out of the oven and then close and cook another minute or two to dry out and set.