My favorite restaurant in the whole wide world is Bacchanalia in Atlanta. Both times I’ve been there, the pastry chef sends out a tiny plate of gougéres for us to enjoy at his compliments. Making them is really simple; it’s just a basic pâte à choux recipe with shredded Gruyére mixed in. I found this recipe in the current issue of Bon Appétit magazine, daydreamed momentarily of a 4-course dinner including drinks, then ripped it out the story, dashed to Publix, and made them that evening. There’s a great essay by fellow bloggette Molly Wizenberg, who is also the author a beautiful book called A Homemade Life. They’re not exactly the same as Bacchanalia’s, and Zack thinks they taste like Goldfish crackers, but personally, I am a huge fan of this recipe.
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, chilled
- 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Bring 1 cup water, butter, and salt to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until butter melts. Add flour; stir rapidly with wooden spoon until flour absorbs liquid and forms ball, pulling away from sides of pan. Stir vigorously until film forms on bottom of pan and dough is no longer sticky, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat; cool dough 2 to 3 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir in cheese and pepper.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Using damp fingertip, press down any peaks of dough.
Bake gougères until golden brown, about 30 minutes, reversing position of pans halfway through baking. Using small sharp knife, pry open 1 gougère to check for doneness (center should be slightly eggy and moist). Serve hot or warm. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Transfer to racks; cool. Rewarm in 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.