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Anyone who enjoys cheese puffs is sure to find gougères a tasty treat. As a French style cheese puff, gougères are usually filled with a variety of ingredients. Here is some information on how gougères are made, as well as some examples of different types of cheese fillers that are used.
The key to making gougères lies in the type of dough that is created, and the way the ingredients of the dough are blended. Water, butter, salt, and eggs are combined with choux flour to produce what is commonly referred to as choux pastry dough. This is the same type of dough that is used in cream puff recipes. Addition of the ingredients is very important to producing the right consistency for the dough. In order to make puff pastry, it is necessary to add the eggs one at a time and thoroughly blend each egg into the dough before adding another egg. The gradual introduction of the eggs into the dough helps to ensure there is an even distribution, and will create an even rising when the puffs are baked.
Far and away the most popular filler for gougères is cheese. Gruyere cheese that has been finely shredded is considered the traditional filler. However, it is possible to use any type of cheese desired. Thus, gougères may be filled with sharp cheddar cheese, blends of goat cheese, or a selection of white cheeses. Combinations of several different types of cheeses will also create interesting variations in the taste of the puff.
While there are prepared mixes that include all the necessary ingredients other than eggs and cool water, it is generally held that making the gougères from scratch will provide a taste that is superior to any box mix. In like manner, while it is possible to use packaged grated cheese for the filler, many people recommend purchasing block cheese and grating it just before introducing it into the dough mixture. The idea behind this is that packages of grated cheese may be slightly drier, and not have the level of taste that freshly grated cheese brings to the recipe.
Gougères are excellent for use at parties, as well as a simple accompaniment to afternoon coffee or tea. For persons who wish to avoid sugar, they may serve as a simple dessert, served with a dollop of fruit preserves on the side. While preparing gougères from scratch can be a time and labor intensive endeavor, the end result is well worth the time and effort.
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