I’m sure it comes as no surprise that most recipes in my Travel-Inspired Baking category are sweets—either delectable desserts or pleasing pastries.  This time, though, I give thee a baked French hors d’hoeuvre that’s light and savory, pairs beautifully with wine, and will knock les chaussettes off your guests.  Introducing, les gougères.

Martha’s Cheese & Herb Gougères have a bit more puff than her Blue Cheese-Walnut Variation, which are the stars of this show.

A few years ago we had la bon chance to dine in the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, a dining experience that almost didn’t happen.* I wish I could recall all the courses we ate on that otherwise memorable day, but one thing is certain: they did not serve gougères.  Too bad, too, because if the meal we had was anything to go by, they would have been extraordinaire.

*If you’d like to learn about that epic(urean) adventure, read this:

Otherwise, let’s get baking.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Gougères(Cheese & Herb variation follows)

Recipe Adapted From: Martha Stewart’s French Food for Felons Baking Handbook

Level of Difficulty: medium—it’ll take a bit of practice to get your piping right

Time Consumption: medium

Kitchen Destruction: low, but if you have five cookie sheets like I do, you’ll use them all

Wow Factor: high, especially if you let slip that you used your piping bag with your homemade pâte à choux.  That’ll intimidate impress many non-cooks.  Also, people LOVE eating them, tossing them into their mouths like popcorn while making embarrassing moaning noises.


  • 1¼ C all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 large, whole eggs, plus 1 large egg white, if needed
  • 1/3 c walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 5 oz (≈ ¾ cup) finely crumbled blue cheese

Special Equipment:

  • Piping bag (if you cut off the corner of a Ziploc, that’ll do)
  • ½-inch plain piping tip (such as an Ateco #808)
Official piping bag. Alas, it’s disposable. Note to self: get a cloth one.


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line up to five baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats such as Silpats™.

(At this point, Martha wants you to pre-mark where you’ll put each gougère by dipping a round cookie cutter in flour and making powdery circles on the lined cookie sheet.  Unless you’re legally blind, this is a pointless waste of time.  Just pipe the gougères about 2 inches apart and you’ll be fine.  Honestly, Martha . . . )

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the butter, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, and nutmeg over medium-high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and immediately remove from heat.  Using a wooden spoon, add flour, stirring vigorously until flour is no longer visible.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a film on the pan’s bottom, about 4 minutes.

Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until lightly cooled, about 1 minute.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until incorporated.  Lightly beat the 4th egg and add a little at a time until the batter is smooth and shiny.  Test the batter by touching it lightly with your finger and lifting—it should form a soft peak.  If it doesn’t, the batter needs more egg.  If you’ve added all the egg and soft peaks still won’t form, add the egg white, a little at a time, until it does.

Learn from my mistakes: always crack each individual egg into a ramekin before adding it to any baking mixture. You’ll have a chance to remove any bits of shell, and in case your eggs have spoiled, you won’t contaminate your entire mixture.

Congratulations. You have just made pâte à choux. Be sure to brag about it on social media.

Transfer pâte à choux to a pastry bag fitted with a plain wide tip.

Pipe puffs into spiraled circles to fit in the floured circles 🙄 about 2 inches apart.

You may need a hand massage when you’re finished piping.
More gougères than you can eat in one sitting? Worry not – you can freeze them.

Dividing evenly, sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese in the center of each round, then sprinkle with the chopped nuts.

Make do: I made my own blue cheese crumbles out of a brick of the stuff we had on hand.
Loaded and ready to go

Choose your own ending:

Having a party? Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until puffs are golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately, as gougères are best eaten warm from the oven.

Not hungry? Freeze gougère-covered cookie sheet for 30 minutes, then pluck off the rounds, placing them in a Ziploc bag.  Store in the freezer while you repeat with remaining cookie sheets.  Keep frozen until ready to bake.  Do not thaw.

Confessions of an imperfect baker:

I own lots of piping tips, but none like the one called for in this recipe. Instead, I used the widest one I could find, which had little teeth.  Sometimes you just gotta tooth it wing it.

Toothed tip. No one will know or care.
Et voilà!

Notes: Not a blue cheese fan?  Got a nut allergy? Omit those offensive ingredients and do this instead:

  • After the film forms at the bottom of the pan, stir in 1½ cups grated Gruyère, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 TBS chopped fresh dill, and 2 TBS chopped fresh chives.
  • Just before baking or freezing, sprinkle an additional ¼ cup Parmesan over the gougères. (I haven’t tried this Cheese & Herb version, so if you do, let me know how they turn out.)

27 thoughts

    1. Oh, that’s great news! I’ve perused the comments and I appear to have scared a few people off, but not you! They really just aren’t that hard. I hope you enjoy them. I just pulled some from the freezer yesterday for a quick hors d’oeuvre when my cousin stopped over, and I’m doing the same tonight for some dinner guests. I hope you love them as much as we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. They look and sound yummy! While I normally, both at home and away, gravitate towards sweet treats, once in a while I like to sample savoury snacks too and cheesy puffs made from choux pastry sound like something I would like to try! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! Honestly, they’re not hard. Someone with your cooking chops would find these a cinch. There are some genuinely difficult French baked goods out there, but this is not one of them. The great thing is that they make so many and they’re so tiny (like a couple of quarters stacked on each other) in frozen form that the dozens in storage take up very little storage space. I CHALLENGE you to make them! 😉


  2. Ooh, those look delicious! I honestly have never heard of gougères, despite having lived abroad in France. They look a lot like the Brazilian pão de queijo, although I would assume the texture would be different (i.e. pão de queijo is chewy, considering its use of tapioca flour). I took a short break from baking, and I think this will be the next project to take on! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol, I love how you have kitchen destruction listed as one of the factors. That really is something worth considering, because cleaning up can be factored into prep time too. Anyway, the results look tasty! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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