These white cheddar and thyme gougères with smoked sea salt are simple to make and addictively delicious. Go on, impress your guests!
- ¼ cup (56 grams) butter
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups (85 grams) finely grated, good-quality, aged white cheddar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Smoked sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Bring the butter, water, sea salt, and cayenne pepper to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the dough comes together into a ball, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and spread the dough around the bottom of the pot to help it cool slightly. Let the dough cool for about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until each is incorporated before adding another. If you find this difficult try moving the pot to a lower surface, like your dining table, and stirring it on there. A lower surface makes it easier to use your whole body and not just your arms.
- Just before the last egg is incorporated add the grated white cheddar and thyme and stir the batter until everything is evenly mixed in.
- Scoop tablespoons of the batter and drop them onto the prepared baking sheets. You will need to slide the batter off with a finger as it is very sticky. Sprinkle the tops with a tiny pinch of smoked sea salt on each.
- Bake the gougères in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom after 15 minutes. The gougères are done when they are lightly browned, completely puffed up and firm on their tops. When they have finished cooking turn off the oven and open the door a crack but leave them in to cool for 10 minutes.
- Gougères can be baked a day ahead of time then gently rewarmed just before serving. Make sure they are completely cool before storing them in an airtight container. You can also freeze the uncooked gougères then bake them straight from frozen, adding a couple minutes to the baking time. Just drop them up to step 5 then freeze them on the baking sheet. Once they are frozen you can take them off the baking sheet and store them in a plastic freezer bag.