holiday entertaining – a gougère aperitif

by Sharon Santoni


A few weeks ago I promised you some new features on this little blog, and today I bring you the first …

You know I love to share my favourite recipes with you, but taking the pictures? …  well, lets just say that shooting food is best left to the professionals.

And because I prefer to use original material and photoshere, I’d like to introduce you to Alex Roberts, a talented young chef based in Paris, who has worked with me to put together and shoot four December  recipes to share with you.

We wanted to stay in a traditionally French holiday season theme.  We can’t show  you the whole Christmas Dinner, because it would be way too long, so each week we will give you a simple recipe, ideal for using during the holidays.   This week it is Gougères prepared two ways for an aperitif, in the next three weeks it will be a dessert or a savoury dish.[white]


So here, without more ado, is the recipe to make these delicious herb and cheese gougere, that you can either serve straight from the oven or  make even more wonderful by filling with salmon and cream.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup shredded cheese, preferably gruyere or cheddar
1 stick butter (113g)
4-6 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of flour, sifted

1 teaspoon of salt

A handful of chopped herbs, like rosemary and thyme
Having your eggs at room temperature makes it easier for them to incorporate into your dough. Sifted flour ensures a better, smoother texture that will lack unwanted lumps. This recipe should be completely measured out before you begin, as it is very time sensitive and the smallest delay can cause much bigger problems.
1. Combine milk, water, butter, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Stir until all of the ingredients are melted together and uniform in yellow colour. Reduce to low heat.
2. Quickly and confidently, whisk your flour into the pot. You have about 10 seconds to bring it all together. Once it is brought together, immediately switch to a wooden spoon.
3. Continue cooking the choux paste (yes! you are making pâte à choux) and stir constantly with the wooden spoon. You’ll know it’s ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pot and makes a hissing sound. You probably want to cook it a little bit longer than you think.
4. Immediately pour the choux paste into the bowl of a mixer. Run on low speed for 30 seconds, then turn up the speed and begin dropping the eggs in one at a time. Let each egg incorporate fully before adding another. Depending on egg size, you may need more or less eggs. You will know your choux is ready when you can pinch the dough between your thumb and pointer finger and extend your fingers apart at least two inches without it breaking).
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still make these by hand, but it will take much longer to incorporate. You could also use a food processor!
5. Add the cheese and herbs, and any other spices you wish at this point. Bring it together on low speed just until combined.
6. If you’re using a pastry bag, you want to pipe the dough as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become. If you aren’t using a pastry bag, a tablespoon will work just as well. Dip it in a little water and the choux paste won’t stick!
7. Freeze and bake later, or egg wash and bake now at 400F/200C for 15-25 minutes. Stay nearby and watch for the rise of your pastry. Aren’t eggs magical? If you find your gougères are browning too quickly in the first 10 minutes, turn down the heat a little. The goal is to get a full rise at high heat, then reduce heat if necessary for the last 10 minutes of the bake.
If you want to wow your guests with an even further elevated gougère, try slicing the bottom and filling them with this simple salmon cream. Combine one cup of crème fraîche (or cream cheese) with a small amount of finely chopped smoked salmon, as well as a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of fresh dill in a food processor or by hand. The amount of salmon you use is entirely up to you, but the more the merrier! Garnish with a small piece
of dill.
Voilà, we hope you enjoy making these traditional French pastries, and that your friends and family are suitably impressed!
All photos with thanks to Alex Roberts


Colleen Taylor December 2, 2015 - 5:29 pm

These look very similar to my cream puffs that I make Sharon. I must say with a pastry bag they look much more elegant. I have filled these little puffs with either a pudding mixture for desserts or even a chicken type salad for a little appetizer. Thank you for reminding me of these little gems & for the recipe as well. X

suzanna December 2, 2015 - 6:15 pm

YUM YUM Sharon, thank you for sharing the recipe…….beautful…so hungry right now,
just drove home from Dallas, TX…..busy there…..Neiman Marcus was hoppin & decorated so beautiful… XO

Meredith December 2, 2015 - 6:17 pm

I love the beginning of your “new” blog. The recipe will be added to my December repertoire and the pictures are beautiful. Well done and I can’t wait to see more.

Marika Ujvari December 2, 2015 - 6:23 pm

What a wonderful Christmas gift to us! Thank you so much for the recipes!!!
Sending you warm hugs from Colorado!


Lynne Beattie December 2, 2015 - 6:40 pm

Beautiful! Can’t wait to try these.

cynthia woodyard December 2, 2015 - 6:57 pm

Wow, yummm, yes! I’m going to make these……..keep your secrets coming……..

Kate Dickerson December 2, 2015 - 7:19 pm

Thank you, dear Sharon!

I love gougères, but had never thought to pair them with salmon & dill – such a yummy idea! I’m thinking this would be lovely to share with family around the decorated tree on Christmas Eve.

Cheers! Kate

Our French Oasis December 2, 2015 - 7:43 pm

Gosh those look good, I will certainly be making them in the next couple of days especially with smoked salmon for special occasions, great idea, thank you. Just made a big batch of mince pies, the smell is permeating throughout the house – the smell of Christmas x

Karena December 2, 2015 - 8:14 pm

Dear Sharon, I have not made these ( or something quite similar) for so long! Yours look absolutely delish! Thank you for sharing!

The Arts by Karena
Books for the Holidays!.

Emm December 2, 2015 - 8:32 pm

That sounds like a most excellent recipe to try. And beautiful pictures, too! Thanks for the lovely present.

Sharon E December 2, 2015 - 8:47 pm

I used to make these regularly. Somehow they disappeared from my recipe line-up. I’ll have to regress, call upon nostalgia and resurrect this popular recipe.

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon December 2, 2015 - 10:17 pm

I am so happy with your food posts. I have a love/hate relationship with gougère. Before I learned to cook I made these with much success (beginners luck?), now that I have a little experience I have had the most difficult time. It is that 4 – 6 eggs that throws me. You make me want to try again.

prince Snow Farm December 2, 2015 - 10:34 pm

My goodness these are positively sinful! They look amazing! Thanks for sharing this recipe and your gorgeous photography!

Mary Anne December 2, 2015 - 11:48 pm

How timely Sharon, I’m going to a dinner party this week and will be taking this delightful appetizer. Cannot wait to read the next recipe with pictures.

Jacqueline December 3, 2015 - 12:17 am

I always make traditional gougeres for aperitif but these look interesting as well as delicious. I have one request: is it possible to put a print button on your page so we can print the recipe (or one of your blogs)? That would make things so much easier.
Un grand merci, Jacqueline

Delaine December 3, 2015 - 2:11 am

Sharon, your French recipes always make me very happy! So authentic and impressive! Can’t wait to try my hand at this. Merci, merci, merci!

Lorrie December 3, 2015 - 2:49 am

What delectable looking morsels. I’ll be trying these!

Beth Williams December 3, 2015 - 3:42 am

Although I fully appreciate the recipe, does this mean there will be no Christmas story this year? I love your stories!!! Yes, I am greedy.

Weta Phillips December 3, 2015 - 4:46 am

Beautiful pictures and you are making me hungry!

Lucia Donahower December 3, 2015 - 5:26 am

Sharon thank you for the gougeres recipe. They look delicious!
While visiting my daughter in Sydney, Australia, I went into a book store at Balmaine East and found your book “My Stylish French Girlfriends.” Congratulations! It’s wonderful and now in my library. I’m really enjoying it!
Lucy in California

Judy Lambert December 3, 2015 - 7:52 am

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I too make something similar but these look very special. I shall try them!

Kym December 3, 2015 - 9:17 am

Hi, they look amazing. Can you freeze them once cooked. X

Bebe December 3, 2015 - 5:04 pm

Easy to print. Copy and paste the url for this page into the appropriate space at

You can edit out anything you don’t want printed. Just follow instructions. I use this all the time and the results are v. good.

Bebe December 3, 2015 - 5:12 pm

An additional tip about using You can remove all images by clicking the button at the top. Or you can leave images and delete them one by one using the instructions at the site.

For this recipe, I left images and removed only those I didn’t need.

Images take up a lot of space and ink and result in a multi-page recipe. I took this one down to three pages, and it would have been only two except for one image I wanted.

I hope this is helpful. I too like to save recipes.

Maryanne Flaherty December 3, 2015 - 7:28 pm

Hadn’t made these for ages, might give it a whirl!

Marilyn December 3, 2015 - 10:41 pm

They look oh so delicious! I really must try them.

D. A. Wolf December 4, 2015 - 3:40 pm

These look amazing! I enjoy cooking but I don’t have an extraordinary amount of patience for things that (uber)-challenge me like pastry or bread … But … both my sons enjoy cooking. I’m keeping this recipe til they’re back home for Xmas!


Maywyn January 26, 2016 - 2:35 am

I bookmarked this post. I read the recipe. I found the cheese.
And before I could make the recipe…I ate the gruyere cheese. Oh my is it good!
I’ll try again to make the recipe.


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