The Hors d’Oeuvre of Your Dreams

Seriously. Simple. Classic. And just in time for the (alco)holidays. I’m talking about gougères, yum. Coming from a Southerner with the best cheese straws you ever ate, this is saying something. Gougères are just the right amount of crispy-gooey-crunchy-soft. Kind of a savory version of those gold-foil-wrapped Rocher chocolates. A girl could exist on gougères alone, but they are better with a glass or seven of champagne.  The recipe below is from Maili Halme of the popular recipe blog, TheMailiFiles. She’s also daughter and sister of the famed Solvang Bakery duo I wrote about earlier. Their gene pool is a kitchen.

Gougères by Maili Halme of
Gougères by Maili Halme of '' They can be the size of a nickel or larger.''

I told you you’d be hearing more about Maili, and here she is. With permission, her prized gougères recipe. Don’t take it lightly. I know you won’t. And go by TheMailiFiles while you’re at it. Here is the link to her post with photos of the recipe-in-progress.

And may I just take a moment to say Maili is one of those people you meet and just can’t stop thinking about because she is so terrific?

Here’s Maili, with recipe to follow:

Gougères are the ideal hors d’oeuvres to eat with Champagne. A hint of cheese and very light. You basically just take a normal PÂTE À CHOUX recipe and then add cheese and whatever other seasonings you like (chives, cayenne, etc.) You can make a double recipe and use the recipe without cheese to make éclairs and cream puffs.

PÂTE À CHOUX is an easy recipe to remember because you just remember one, one and one and then a pinch of salt plus four eggs. Then cheese. Traditionally, they are made with Gruyère cheese but I’m a giant fan of the aged Dubliner Irish Cheddar or an extra sharp cheddar cheese. (A New York White Cheddar would work as well. You can use your favorite cheese from Parmesan to Manchego. Have fun experimenting.

Another note to remember is that this is a major workout for your arms. You must beat each egg in one at at time until the dough is still again. You may feel like your arm is going to fall off.

The other great thing about this recipe is that the Gougères can be made in advance and frozen. Then pop them in an oven quickly to reheat them just before service.

Preheat oven to 425
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  3. 1 cup of flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  6. 1 1/2 cups grated Dubliner Irish Cheddar or your favorite cheese, plus more for the tops of each puff
  7. chives, cayenne pepper, mustard are optional seasonings. I generally keep them simple and just make them with cheese
  1. Place water and stick of butter in a saucepan. Cook until butter just melts. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then add 1 cup of flour. Turn OFF THE HEAT and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side of the pan.
  2. Let cool for about a minute before adding the eggs (otherwise the eggs might “cook and scramble” if the dough is still too hot.) Add it eggs one at a time until fully incorporated and dough is stiff again. I do this with a wooden spoon and get quite an arm workout. Be sure that the dough is completely stiff again before you add the next egg, otherwise they won't rise properly. Others prefer to use a beater for this step. Beat well after each egg addition. (if using for Cream Puffs and Eclairs then the recipe is complete. Place the dough in a ziplock bag and pipe it into cream puff and éclair shapes.)
  3. If making gougères then add the cheese to the batter and then put it in a ziplock bag or pastry bag.
  4. Pipe on to parchment lined baking sheets. Add a little more grated cheese to the top of each puff.
  5. Bake in a 425 oven for about 25 minutes until browned. (some people bake them at 425 for 10 minutes and then turn them down to 375 and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.) But I have giant gas ovens and you can’t regulate the temperature very easily so I just keep the oven at 425 the whole time and keep an eye on them. If you have electric or convection ovens you may have slightly more control. Do whatever works best for your oven. The total baking time usually works out to about 35 to 40 minutes. Bite into one if you aren't sure, but they will deflate if they are not baked all the way. Also, try not to open the oven very often while they are baking because that could also cause them to deflate. (I'm making them sound harder than they are. They are honestly quite easy to make.)
Frances Schultz


  1. I am making a ‘test’ batch this weekend. Having Christmas party on the 22nd, putting these on the menu, yummmm! Anything from Solvang Bakery is delish-o-mundo. Love, love, love Solvang, so looking forward to visiting that little slice of heaven next year in the Fall, haven’t been back in way too long.

    1. Enjoy, Miss EB, and we’ll look forward to your visit in the fall! Have a great party and a great Christmas, x, Frances

  2. I dunno. I’m thinking of a gougère cookoff…Kendell’s are seriously good.

    Are you out East at all during the holidays?


    1. Bring it, dude…. And I hope to slip out East during the hollies but am playing it by ear. I will definitely give a holler if I come. x Frances

  3. This looks delicious. I just found out we’ll have guests over for Christmas, and I like to always have something ready in the freezer for a quick Hd’…I wonder if adding roasted pecans & cheese would be ok…

    Thanks for sharing.

    Emily @

    1. I think the pecans sound good – maybe try them in half the batch at first? Maili says to add more cheese on top, for sure. Let us know how it goes? And thanks for writing, Emily, and a shout out to!

  4. I put pecans in my Cheese Straws (aka Cheese Pennies) and a bit of Cayenne. Pecans are also the secret ingredient in my deep fried Mac and Cheese bites. But I’m not sure how pecans would work in this recipe because of the way it needs to puff up and rise. Please let us know if the pecans work. I love experiments since they often lead to the best things. Definitely add heaping bunches of cheese on top. You can never have enough cheese in my opinion.

    1. Straight from The Maili Files mouth, and there you have it ladies and gougère-men. (I did not say that, did I?)

  5. I wonder if cumin would be good?
    or stick with the classic cayenne?
    Love things that we can make in advance and freeze!
    Thank you, Maili and Frances!

  6. OMG I am going to try this ASAP! Thank you so much for the recipe. I love the glass of champagne or maybe seven–my kind of Hors d’Oeuvre.
    Thank you Frances.xo, Lissy

  7. I just made these! Delicious! Such a simple recipe, I followed it exactly. The 4th egg was difficult to beat in and it really was an arm workout but well worth the treat! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Frances – you are the best – you are such a wonderful writer I can just taste how yummy they must be! I will try them out after we return at the end of Jan. form our journeys in Bali on onward… Have a delicious Christmas with your family – I know you will…. Hope you will come out east in February and we can have lunch in NYC… xo

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