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Goozhjairs, Darlings

September 30, 2010
When it comes to the French language, SoupAddict must come clean: she does not parlayvoo the francay. No, indeed. SoupAddict spent her college years hip deep in Germanic and Scandinavian languages, none of which require any particular delicacy to speak (with one marvelous exception, the Swedish word for seven, sju, which requires summoning a soft, non-existent vowel sound from the depths of your sinuses without actually snorting or, you know, accidentally stirring things around in an audible way).

So, when SoupAddict first encountered the savory little French pastry called a Gougère, SoupAddict mentally and indelicately pronounced it “gowjer” and shoved one cheesy puff into her mouth (similarly indelicately).

Of course, SoupAddict immediately felt like she had been caught wearing jeans at a cocktail party. This was no mere cheese puff. And that’s the only clear thought she could muster before reaching for a second one. (But this time, she stuck out her pinky finger as she plucked another delicate puff off the plate. It seemed the right thing to do.)

The fabulous thing about Gougères is that, as hard as they might be for some to pronounce, they are that delicious, and more. And so easy to prepare. SoupAddict learned to make Gougères long ago from the teachings of Dorie Greenspan. Whom SoupAddict has never met, but still calls her “Dorie” when talking to the picture of her on the cover of her cookbooks.

“What?” you ask disbelievingly (completely side-stepping the news that SoupAddict talks to her cookbooks). “They’re easy?”

Hmmphf! SoupAddict is entirely trustworthy in these matters. Yes, they’re easy.

Trust SoupAddict.

And then observe for yourself [because really, you shouldn’t trust SoupAddict, not when she admits to pronouncing something (anything) “gowjer” and talking to her cookbooks. Which she really doesn’t do. Really doesn’t [shakes head gravely]. No, sir. No]. In fact, Gougères are made with ingredients you no doubt have right now: milk, water, salt, eggs, flour, cheese. That’s it.

Since joining a CSA this past Spring, SoupAddict’s refrigerator has been taken over by an ever-growing army of eggs. Eggs in the egg rack. Eggs in the deli drawer. Eggs in the butter bin. Eggs in the vegetable drawer. Eggs in front of the milk. Behind the milk. An egg balanced precariously in the dimple on the milk cap, because there’s just no where else to go with it.

In all fairness to SoupAddict, the regular receipt of local, farm-fresh, free-range eggs seemed like a good idea. Until July. When SoupAddict realized she just doesn’t bake that much in the summer. But then it seemed like a really good idea again when the salmonella outbreak occurred in August, because even though SoupAddict still wasn’t really using eggs, she had safe eggs. Loads of ’em. (And she felt rather smug about her locavore tendencies.) But these Gougères require 5 eggs, which means SoupAddict can finally have her butter bin back. (Which she immediately filled with limes. Don’t ask.)

SoupAddict’s favorite Gougère is a Gruyère Gougère, which is not only fabulous to eat, but also a hoot to say three-times-fast after a glass or two of sparkling wine. But here, SoupAddict went with a French-American combo of comté and Cabot extra sharp cheddar. Smoked gouda is also good. As is gorgonzola dolce. It’s all good, people. Trust SoupAddict [nods enthusiastically while giving the thumbs-up].
SoupAddict likes to make this pâte à choux, which requires vigorous stirring and results in a sort of full-body jiggle that makes SoupAddict giggle at the thought of what she must look like. (When SoupAddict must do public speaking, which is thankfully rarely, she calms her nerves by imagining everyone in the audience standing over a pot doing the pâte à choux jiggle.)
The gorgeous — or shall we say, gougérgeous … [altogether, now: ggrrooooooan] — pâte à choux is thick and creamy, ready to go.
Spoon or pipe the dough onto lined baking sheets.
Break open one tender puff.
Admire the fluffy crumb and melty, cheesy goodness.
Shove it in your mouth whole (with pinky finger properly extended). Then grab the next one and place it delicately on the plate for presentation. Or, if it’s the third, or fourth, or fifth one that gets plated, no one will know. And SoupAddict [chomp] certainly isn’t one [nom nom nom] to tell.
This post is participating in French Fridays with Dorie, a blogging project where we cook our way through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table.
  1. Nick permalink
    September 30, 2010 12:48 pm

    These look great! Do we get a recipe or do we have to buy the book?

  2. Nick permalink
    September 30, 2010 1:14 pm

    Aha! If you follow the link to the book at Amazon, you can find the recipe in their book preview.

  3. September 30, 2010 2:25 pm

    Hi! I am also participating in FFWD. Your gougeres turned out beautifully! Great job!

  4. SoupAddict permalink
    September 30, 2010 4:42 pm

    Nick, you’re so clever (read, sneaky.) 🙂

    Hi Angie, thanks for stopping by – yours turned out wonderfully, too!

  5. September 30, 2010 6:02 pm

    I, too, am doing FFWD. GREAT photos!! May I ask when lense you are using? I have a 50mm and can’t ever get close enough. Think I may need a macro or something that allows me to get closer to my subject.

    Hi Becky! Thanks so much for the sweet compliment! I have 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for my Canon XSi. It’s almost a “transition” lens between the standard 50mm and a more expensive 100mm (or more) macro lens. I really like it. Although most of the photography I do is macro, I rarely change out the lens as this one handles portraiture and other usages quite well.

  6. September 30, 2010 6:31 pm

    These look fabulous – and eggs do rock!

  7. September 30, 2010 6:38 pm

    I am so excited that you are cooking along with us! Hilarious post and beautiful photos. So nice to see new blogs that I have not seen before!

  8. September 30, 2010 6:58 pm

    Love it! So entertaining 🙂 Yay for FFwd!

  9. September 30, 2010 7:21 pm

    Your photos are lovely. I shoved these in too!

  10. Nick permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:45 pm

    “Nick, you’re so clever (read, sneaky.) :)”

    Not really, I was truly just curious about the book. Yup, that’s the ticket.

    Seriously, though, I hadn’t heard of these things. (I don’t sprechen the Francis either.) So, I started looking around for recipes and found a couple of pretty good videos. The ingredients listed stayed pretty much the same, but I was still interested to find the “exact” proportions.

    I thought about buying the book, but I’ve kinda overspent on…

    Shutup, Nick, this is somebody else’s blog!

  11. October 1, 2010 12:31 am

    What a wonderful post! I love your writing style and your photography. I am really looking forward to following you now that I’ve found your blog, thanks to FFwD.

  12. October 1, 2010 12:55 am

    🙂 entertaining post and lovely gowjers! 🙂

  13. October 1, 2010 1:09 am

    Love your blog (and your French is great!) Your gougeres make me wish I still had some in the freezer.

  14. October 1, 2010 7:19 am

    Fun post! I’m looking forward to cooking along with you and the rest of the FFWD group!

  15. October 1, 2010 8:11 am

    Your gougeres are beautiful! Picture perfect!

  16. October 1, 2010 9:17 am

    They are soo good… I polish off the last two this morning, and filled them up with proscuitto – Fancy!

  17. October 1, 2010 9:19 am

    Beautiful job! (I’m a part of FFwD, too.)

  18. October 1, 2010 10:49 am

    Great post. I really enjoyed it

  19. Nick permalink
    October 1, 2010 3:48 pm

    OK, I made these this afternoon. If you’re hesitant, don’t be. They’re easy and delicious.

    I used Gruyere, which is great, but I’m thinkin’ Gorgonzola next time, mostly because I’m just kind of a Gorgonzola junkie.

    A question: These babies are just beggin’ to be stuffed with something. I mean, why use that little cavity inside for something as boring as air? I’ve never attempted this before, so I need some advice. Is this a pastry bag thing? Any tips?

    Thanks again, SoupAddict, you da bomb! Can I rent a room in your house?

  20. Nick permalink
    October 1, 2010 4:16 pm

    One other thing, SoupAddict. You use a KitchenAid stand mixer, right? Looking at the photo above, it seems you might not have one of these:

    If not, trust Nick and get one. What it means is not having to stop the machine periodically to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Spatula be built-in, and it really really works!

  21. October 1, 2010 6:30 pm

    Oh, so cheesy and wonderful! Nice work.

  22. Josefa permalink
    October 1, 2010 8:32 pm

    your post is laugh out loud funny. look forward to reading more as we cook along with french fridays!

  23. October 2, 2010 11:39 am

    Love the fresh eggs and your very amusing expose. Beautiful close-ups, especially enjoyed the photo of an open gougere with melting cheese string inside. Golden brown perfection =).

  24. October 2, 2010 3:22 pm

    What wonderful looking gougeres! I must have grated my cheese too fine – your texture is so much more pronounced. Beautiful – and the perfect match to soup! 🙂

  25. October 2, 2010 4:32 pm

    The SoupAddict did a wonderful job, with a post that was fun to read 🙂

  26. October 2, 2010 4:41 pm

    Okay, i’m so happy you are in FFWD. I’m new to your blog and I love the SoupAddict! Yours turned out great.

  27. October 2, 2010 6:20 pm

    The gougerfeous comment is hysterical!! and let me tell you I get grief for the pinky exstention almost daily… Is that because my mother is french? Love your blog and post. You must have a culpret in crime or you are a contortionist with your camara. I expecially like the fingers.Beth

  28. SoupAddict permalink
    October 8, 2010 2:41 pm

    Nick: Sorry for the delay in the reply! I’ve stuffed these things before, but it’s been more of a “sandwich” affair – prying open part of one side and stuffing in some chopped prosciutto, for example. You could definitely use a pastry bag, though. I’m thinking, well-whipped cream cheese and chopped chives. Man, now I wish I hadn’t had that really bland sandwich for lunch. Oh, and the beater blade – I have one, and I love it. Brilliant invention.

  29. Nick permalink
    October 11, 2010 6:51 pm

    No problem on the delay. I want to add, though, that I made these again yesterday with Gorganzola. Not so good, actually. I don’t know if the texture of the Gorganzola made them different or what, but the first ones I made with the Gruyere were much better.

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