I have a particular love of all things ‘Choux’. One of the first bakes I tried to replicate after we became a gluten free household, was profiteroles. The thought of never being able to eat a cream-filled, chocolate-coated, puffed-up ball of pastry loveliness again, filled me with horror.
At that time, there were virtually no gluten free choux recipes to be found, either in books or on the internet. Times have changed greatly and now, if you type ‘gluten free choux’ into your search engine, a whole list of alternative recipes are there to tempt you.
With wheat-based baking, there are recommended ratios of flour to fat to liquid to sugar for specific bakes, but with gluten-free cooking, it seems there are vast differences between recipes for the same dish, including those for Choux. It is one of the things that fascinates me about my gluten free culinary world….. With so many options for combining flours and other ingredients, all new recipes become laboratory experiments. There are no ultimate rules….. We are all just striving to get the best results we can with the larder of gluten free ingredients we have at our disposal.
When I first developed my own recipe for gluten free Choux pastry, I wanted to achieve something as close as possible to my (at that time very recent) memory of glutenous profiteroles. It took several attempts before I achieved a recipe which rose and puffed in the oven, with a taste and texture that satisfied my expectations….. and my expectations were high!
Since then, we have fed our gluten free profiteroles to many an unsuspecting gluten-eating guest. My memories of wheat Choux may have faded, but I am assured (and reassured) that my gluten free Choux pastry is good and that had they not been told it was gluten free, our friends would never have known.
Earlier in the year, I attended a gluten free pastry course which included making gluten free Choux pastry….. more specifically, a savoury, cheesy version called Gougeres. I have never had Gougeres before, but I love Choux and I love cheese, so the prospect of discovering something new sounded very exciting.
Gougeres originate in France and typically have Gruyere, Comte or Emmental grated into the pastry dough before baking. They can be eaten ‘straight’ as simple cheesy pastries or filled with anything from cream cheese or mushroom, to meat and fish.
Choux pastry is (I understand) tricky for some people. Personally, I have never had a problem making it….. My nemesis is puff pastry for sure. On the course that I attended however, the fruits of our Gougere labour were really disappointing. Whether it was the ingredients, the multiple use of the oven by lots of people at the same time, or a problem with our method, we could not be sure….. Eother way, our Gougeres turned out to be universally flat, stodgy, cheesy, flat dough blobs….. The course leader put it down to a use of Cheddar cheese rather than Gruyere which she usually brings, but which she couldn’t source on the day. Whether this was the reason or not, I will avoid its use in future, just in case!
To make these Gougeres, I have used my own trusty Choux recipe and adapted it to incorporate cheese. Although they actually worked reasonably well the first time I tried at home, I did make and tweak them a couple more times to get the balance of ingredients the best I could…. My little buns rose and puffed up beautifully and we all agreed they were wonderfully cheesy and looked like they were meant to……. (we checked on the internet)!
I should really have piped the pastry dough onto the baking sheet for neatness, but I decided to spoon it on for speed……. Not as elegant maybe….. but just as delicious!
I am offering a bowlful of my yummy gluten free Gougeres to the following :
Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.
Gougeres – Cheesy Choux Buns
good grind black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Combine the flour and xanthan gum and mix together making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the water and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, immediately turn off the heat and add the flour, beating rapidly with a wooden spoon, until fully combined and the mix leaves the sides of the pan.
- Cool the mixture slightly and then very gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time.
- Finally add the grated cheese, nutmeg and cayenne (if using) and beat through with the wooden spoon.
- On a silpat sheet or using a baking paper lined baking sheet, either pipe or spoon small walnut-sized piles of the mixture, leaving a small gap between each.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of salt on top of each dough pile.
- Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven until well risen and golden brown.
- When cooked, remove from the oven and pierce a small hole into the side of each gougere with a sharp knife or skewer.
- Place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- You can eat warm as they are or allow to go cold and fill with your chosen filling.
- Cream cheese filling : Beat the cream cheese, cream and pepper together with an electric whisk until it thickens to soft peaks.
- Using a smallish round-holed piping tip, pipe a little of the cream cheese mixture into each gougere.
- Store in the fridge until ready to eat.