It’s suddenly raining Gougères all over the blogosphere. In a strange co-incidence, I too happened to make them last weekend. I have no clue about French cuisine and my knowledge of French is limited to my short course at Alliance Francaise – “Quelle est votre nom? Je m’appelle Jayanthi”. I came across Gougères for the first time when I was flipping through my newly bought tome “How to cook everything” by Mark Bittman but I never got around to making it then. I took a fancy to Gougères because they seemed simple and had cheese in them – both very important to me. Last weekend, I finally settled down to make these much celebrated cheese puffs and I was struck by a low-voltage crisis. Even when I turned my oven full blast (230 C is my oven’s full blast), my oven thermometer wouldn’t climb beyond 120 C. After nearly half an hour of pre-heating the oven (I should have barbecued my oven), the thermometer read just short of 190 C.
My Chennai-made Gougères would have to do with that, I hopefully popped in the baking sheets and waited. Nothing happened for another half an hour. They looked just the same. The temperature hovered around 150 C now. I baked them for another half an hour and then another half an hour. I must have baked them for nearly 2 hours totally when they finally puffed up and browned at places. I was relieved to pull them out of the oven and switch off the bloody oven. At such instances, you never know it it is just the oven or if you’ve got it wrong or both. I’ll definitely be trying it again just to make sure it’s not the latter. Why should the EB (Electricity Board) screw up when I am attempting my very first Gougères? Can’t they see I am making delicate, light and airy French puffs? Fools. If I never make it as a great pastry celebrity, it would be because of EB.
From what I read online, I gather they’re light, airy and tender. Mine looked more like Mysore bondas than Gougères and they were not light. I think cooking them for hours together in a Dum Biryani type set-up had taken its toll. They tasted ok, cheesy on the inside but chewy. Moral of the story (only relevant for Indian residents): Before making Gougères, check your voltage supply.
Gougères also happens to be the this month’s challenge at Baking Partners. I’ve spectacularly screwed up my first challenge with Baking Partners.
Prep time: 10 mins Baking time: 30-40 mins Makes: 30
Water – 1 cup Butter – 4 tbsp Flour – 1 -1/2 cup Eggs – 3 Grated Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup
1.Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F).
2.In a pan, take water and butter together and heat till the butter melts. Then add the flour all at once and stir till it forms a dough.
3.Remove from fire. Let cool a little. Add eggs one at a time and mix well till glossy.
4.Mix in the grated cheese.
5.Drop tablespoon sized mounds of dough on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart in rows and columns. Bake for 30-40 minutes or till nicely browned and puffed up. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.