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Gougère - A Savoury Cheese Choux Pastry

Gougère will enhance almost any wine - Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Rosé. Traditionally served at wine tastings in Burgundy, these warm, fragrant, golden Gougère puffs are perfect appetizers or simply a savoury taste to partner with wine. The only secret of making a fluffy Gougère is not to open the oven door before it is ready, and always to leave the Gougère in the oven for a few minutes after you have turned it off, so that it settles. Gougère can be made as a large ring or as separate individual puffs. Dicing the cheese will give a more interesting texture.

8 oz. milk
2 oz. butter
4 oz. plain flour, sifted
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated or finely diced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
2 TB. Gruyère cheese, finely diced (for the topping)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a baking sheet. Put the milk and butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Bring to a boil then pour in the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away cleanly from the sides of the saucepan. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cheese and mustard. The batter should be very smooth and shiny. Taste it, and add a pinch of cayenne pepper or salt if necessary. Drop tablespoons of the batter on the baking sheet at least 2 inches apart or you can fill a large pastry bag with the batter and pipe the Gougère onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the topping cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes until well risen and golden brown. Do not be tempted by the delicious aroma to open the oven door as the Gougère is cooking. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for a few minutes to allow the Gougère to settle. Transfer the Gougère delicately to a serving platter.

Serves 4-6