"Gougères" sound so much more glamorous than "cheesy puffs" but this is essentially what they are! A deliciously light choux pastry flavoured with mature cheddar. A warm pile of these delicious bites served on a large platter is all that is needed by way of an appetiser (or even a starter, if you are really feeling the pinch) and the beauty of them is that they can be made in advance, frozen and then popped in the oven to heat through for 5 minutes as your guests arrive. Please don't be put off by the thought of making choux pastry - these are incredibly easy.
- Makes around 30
- 100g / 3 1/2oz mature cheddar cheese, grated (£1.78 for 250g)
- 110g / 4oz plain flour
- 175ml cold water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 75g/2 3/4 oz butter (£1.69)
- 3 eggs (69p for 6)
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4
- 1 Place the water, salt and butter in a pan over a medium heat. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat. Add the flour and stir constantly using a wooden spoon until it is all combined, then beat the mixture until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides. If it doesn't pull away from the sides of the pan, return it to the heat for a minute.
- 2 Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next. Keep beating until you have a mixture that is smooth, glossy and slightly sticky. Stir in approximately three-quarters of the cheese.
- 3 Using two dessertspoons to help you form a ball, place small, walnut sized blobs on to two greased baking sheets about 5cm apart. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake until the puffs are golden which should take about 25-30 minutes.
- 4 You can either serve them straight away or store in an airtight container for up to three days. Warm in the oven at about 200C/400F / Gas Mark 6 for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can freeze them for up to a month and reheat as before, once they have defrosted.
Caroline's passion for cooking was inspired by her mother, a home economist, from whom she acquired most of her cookery skills. She has also trained at cookery schools in France and Italy and Leith's Cookery School in London. Caroline is a Wine Scholar and holds a Diploma in Wines and Spirits. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Photographs David Merewether
- Words and recipes Caroline Samuels