This is not necessarily a profiterole, but a gougère. A gougère, in French cuisine, is a baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese. It is a cooked mixture of water, butter and flour which rises due to steam expansion. The paste crusts on the outside, trapping steam inside, creating a puffed shape with a hollow interior.
With these we can use any type shredded hard cheese, like gruyere, sharp cheddar or your favorite. I like to add a little bite and cayenne pepper is introduced in the dough and makes for a nice snack. For a more dessert feel the cayenne can be left out and the crisp shells are filled with a variety of creams and finished with a glaze. This is an easy snack to make and great fresh and hot although they deflate after a while!
- 1 cup water
- 6 tbsp butter cut in pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (See Note 1)
- 3/4 cup flour sifted
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese grated
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water, butter, salt, sugar and cayenne powder (optional) to a boil.
- Take the saucepan off the heat, add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. Continue beating until the dough forms a solid, smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
- Quickly beat in the grated cheese to incorporate completely. Let batter cool 3 minutes.
- Little by little add the beaten eggs, beating vigorously in between each addition, until the dough forms a smooth, shiny mass.
- With a rubber spatula, scoop the "pate a choux" into a pastry bag and pipe out approximately 48 (1-inch) rounds, spaced 1 to 2 inches apart on the baking sheet lined with a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper.
- Brush dough lightly with the other beaten egg and place in the oven. Cook until golden and puffed, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool briefly on a baking rack. Serve hot or at room temperature.
- The cayenne powder adds a wonderful, slight kick, but use less or omit if preferred.