These gougères are ideal for apéro. They go perfectly with a glass of champagne, or with mimosas for brunch. They can also be made in advance, piped and frozen to be baked when needed for last-minute guests.

Thyme Gougères

Adapted from the Tartine cookbook

1¼ cups skim milk

10 tbsp salted butter

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plucked from stems

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs

1 large egg white

¾ cup gruyère or comté, grated

For finishing

1 large egg

¼ tsp fine sea salt

¼ cup gruyère or comté, grated for sprinkling

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plucked from stems

Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F, with fan on if convection. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift flour into a bowl and set aside.

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine milk, butter, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture has come together. Place pot back on stove on low heat, stirring continuously, cooking the paste, until it becomes smooth, has pulled away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.

Remove from heat and transfer paste to a heatproof bowl. Using a stand mixer with a
paddle attachment, or using a wooden spoon and elbow grease, add the 5 eggs and egg white one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before you add the next. When eggs have been well incorporated, mix in the ¾ cup of grated cheese.

Fill a piping bag to pipe the gougères (or use a spoon or small ice cream scoop as you would with loose cookie dough). Whisk together the last egg with the salt in a small bowl to make an egg wash. 

Pipe 1-inch mounds, spaced about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto each mound, and top with a bit of cheese, thyme and pepper. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until it has a very deep golden colour. Do not open oven until 20 minutes has passed, then you can take a peek. If there is still white on the crust, leave them in until the surface is brown and crispy looking, or they may deflate.

Take gougères out of oven and cool on baking sheet. Serve at room temperature or warm from the oven. Makes about 30.