Choux pastry is essential for making flaky dough for delicious appetizers and desserts. Make a batch to use for this gougeres recipe!
Pâte à choux (a fancy French term for this flaky pastry) is known for being finicky to make. To be honest, it’s actually quite simple to make at home!
Once you get the hang of it, you can use this pastry dough to make dozens of things, including cream puffs, eclairs, and savory gruyere puffs!
They go with just about any meal and are a little more interesting than plain dinner rolls.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Gruyere cheese – Use a finer grate for this choux pastry recipe so the cheese melts faster and easier. And always shred cheese by hand for a smoother finish.
- Cayenne pepper – This adds a little kick to the gruyere puffs, but feel free to reduce the amount or omit it altogether.
- Flour – It’s important to sift the flour so no lumps form in the dough. If you don’t have a sifter, a fine mesh sieve will work as well.
Video: How to make choux pastry
Watch the video located in the recipe card below to see my tips and instructions for making the choux pastry puffs from start to finish.
- Preheat the oven.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the oven is fully heated to the correct temperature before putting in your pans.
This is not the type of recipe where you can put your dish in a little early.
- Start making the batter.
Combine the first set of ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. You’ll need some effort to make sure the texture is smooth.
- Mix in cheese and eggs.
Beat the cheese into the dough until it melts and combines, then let the batter cool for a few minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time until the dough is shiny but not wet.
NOTE: The amount of eggs you need will vary according to the temperature of the room and the altitude you are at. Judge by the appearance of the dough, not by the amount called for in the recipe.
- Pipe and bake.
Transfer the choux pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe small rounds onto your baking sheet. Don’t make them too large, as they’ll puff quite a bit in the oven. Brush egg wash over the top and bake until golden brown.
Gougeres recipe notes
- Go by look and feel: Because altitude and humidity can influence the texture, it’s important to keep an eye on the dough itself instead of following the choux pastry recipe exactly. Add the eggs one at a time, since fewer are needed in a high humidity environment and egg size may vary.
- Line your pans: Silpats, which are silicone pastry mats, or parchment paper are the best choices. This prevents the dough from sticking to the pan and keeps the outer layer crispy.
- Add moisture: While not required, it can help to lightly brush the silpat or parchment with a damp pastry brush before piping the dough. This creates steam in the oven and helps everything to bake evenly.
- Leave the oven door closed: Anytime the oven loses heat, you risk having the pastry collapse. Monitor the progress through the oven window, or check them just at the end of baking.
Choux pastry recipes
- Cream puffs – Rich cream filling is piped into tender choux pastry puffs for a light and airy dessert. These can be served individually or built into a tower, known as a croquembouche. (Easily use this recipe , but omit the cheese and cayenne).
- Eclairs – This popular French pastry is made by piping a thick line of choux and baking until crisp and hollow. It’s then filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate icing. (Easily use this recipe , but omit the cheese and cayenne).
- Profiteroles – If you take a cream puff and make it smaller, you’ll have a profiterole! Fillings can savory or sweet. Sweet fillings include whipped cream, custard, and ice cream, and they are often garnished with chocolate or a dusting of powdered sugar. (Easily use this recipe , but omit the cheese and cayenne).
- Gougeres – These are savory puffs where cheese is melted into the dough instead of being piped into the center. Check out the recipe card below to see how to make these cheesy appetizers.
Choux Pastry Puffs (Gougeres) + Video
- 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 all purpose 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.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.