It turns out I’ve been slightly attached to the cookbook I was telling you about last week. It’s filled with inventive recipes using fresh herbs and with spring beckoning, it’s been the perfect companion to my downtime as of late.
One recipe in particular that piqued my interest was for cheddar and thyme gougères. I had eaten gougères growing up in the French-influenced city of New Orleans, only I didn’t know what they were called until just a few years ago. To me, they were just delectable puffy, cheese biscuits that burst like clouds when I’d pop them into my eager little mouth.
This recipe achieves, and perhaps exceeds, that expectation. These gougères are pillowy balls of dough puffed up and dressed up with cheddar cheese and fresh thyme. Their feather-light weight will surprise you if you’ve never eaten them before. And as for the cheese…have you ever met a piece of bread that wasn’t instantly made better by crisped cheddar? I rest my case.
Cheddar and Thyme Gougères (Cheese Puffs)
- ¾ cup of water
- ½ tsp of sea salt + more for sprinkling
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, cracked into 1 small bowl
- 1.5 tablespoons of fresh thyme chopped finely
- 1.5 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine water, salt, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour and beat with a whisk. Remove the pan from heat.
Pour eggs into the saucepan, one by one, and beat into the dough with a whisk. Stir in thyme and cheese.
Drop 1 inch balls of dough onto a parchment lined backing sheet. Leave at least 1 inch of space in between them for even cooking and spreading. Sprinkle a little bit of extra cheese on top of each gougère.
Bake the gougères until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with a sprinkle of sea salt, and serve warm.
Recipe from The Herbfarm Cookbook.
You can also freeze the dough balls (before baking) for several weeks and then bake them according to the directions when you’re reading to eat them. To do this, place the baking sheets with raw dough balls on them in the freezer for 1 hour. Then transfer to freezer bags for long-term freezing. When ready to eat, just heat them up in the oven as describe above (might take a few minutes longer).