Gougères (Cheese Savouries) from Outlander book Dragonfly in Amber

Gougères (Cheese Savouries) from Dragonfly in Amber

"Indeed, Monsieur le Comte?" Silas Hawkins raised thick, graying brows toward our end of the table.  "Have you found a new partner for investment, then?  I understood that your own resources were...depleted, shall we say?  Following the sad destruction of the Patagonia."  He took a cheese savoury from the plate and popped it delicately into his mouth.

The Comte's jaw muscles bulged, and a sudden chill descended on our end of the table.  From Mr. Hawkins's sidelong glance at me, and the tiny smile that lurked about his buisily chewing mouth, it was clear that he knew all about my role in the destruction of the unfortunate Patagonia.

Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 18 - Rape in Paris)

The Comte is hardly the first character to come to mind when you think of Christmas entertaining, but I've wanted to do this recipe for awhile, so I'm asking you to grin and bear with me.

Make your own batch of gougères (cheese savouries) and you'll agree that these crispy, puffy, cheesy, single bites of French culinary delight are worth a little time in bad company.

ragged-V choux

For me, thinking about the Comte also brings to mind another enigmatic Frenchman -- my culinary instructor, and the first person I ever addressed as "Chef!," a man we know here in Outlander Kitchen as Chef P.

An emigrant to my birthplace, Vancouver, Canada, from France in the mid-70s, he had apprenticed and worked in many of Europe's finest restaurants in the 60s/70s, the heyday of classical French cuisine in the 20th Century.  When he came to Vancouver, Chef P opened a Parisian-style bistro downtown and quickly rose to local foodie fame; even back then, Vancouver was a food-lovers mecca, with fine restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world.

piping bag

I actually dined, with my family, at Chef P's bistro in 1978.  Even as an 8 year old, I was pretty certain stubborn about my food choices.  When I ordered a steak & frites, medium-rare, my Dad jumped in to correct it with the waiter to medium.  A minor father-daughter face-off -- "You won't eat it!" Dad kept repeating -- was averted by the maître d', who actually brought the chef out of the kitchen to help with the big decision.

I remember it very clearly:  the chef sided with me.  "If the girl wants it medium-rare, that's what she should have," he said, in broken English.

Thirty years later, I walked into his classroom for my first day at culinary school as a mature student.

piping bag full

It took me exactly 5 minutes into Chef P's introduction to realize who he was.  With that realization, any residual worries about whether I was doing the right thing -- moving away from home and husband (and back in with my mother) for 6 months to follow an almost 20 year yearning to attend culinary school -- vanished.

Coincidence/convergence/coming full-circle.  Call it what you will.  I'm old enough now to know better than to disregard a blaring sign like that.

So, I relaxed and enjoyed myself.  And learned everything Chef P cared to teach.

choux-dough

His English was still pretty broken, even 30 years on.  He rarely followed a recipe as printed in the official curriculum, and he was mostly oblivious to the resulting confusion that followed him everywhere.  He was often quick to anger when any of my fellow, younger, students asked him to repeat his latest unintelligible instruction, but for some reason, I got away with almost anything.

I'm not sure what endeared me to him.  I never told him the story of eating in his restaurant all those years ago, but the two of us clicked anyway.  In many ways, he was my Master Raymond.

I wouldn't mind sharing Chef P's aura, no matter that he is a bit crotchety.  All good cooks are.

gougeres (cheese savouries)

The choux pastry that these gougères are made from is one of the recipes that Chef P made us repeat over and over.  As the son of a Paris bakery owner, Chef P had a lot of experience with this centuries old, double-cooked pastry that is versatile enough to also form the base of eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches, crullers, beignets and even some gnocchi.

Among all of those, as a savoury girl, gougères are my favourite by far. Traditionally served at Burgundy vineyards as an accompaniment during wine tastings, these most certainly would have been at home on the table at Jared's place in Paris.

They're wonderful finger food for your holiday party...if it's easier, bake them earlier in the day, then recrisp in a warm oven just before serving.

gougeres (cheese savouries)

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Comments

06 Dec 2012 - 12:42pm

Taking On Magazines


Wow, what a great story. There really does seem to be a good amout of karma in your and Chef P's relationship. And, he taught you well. Those gougres' amazing.

06 Dec 2012 - 2:47pm

Gisela


I am definitely making this to bring to my mother in law's party! Thank you for a wonderful recipe! Slainte!

06 Dec 2012 - 4:22pm

Marci


I can't wait to try these. Smoked Gruyere is my favorite!

Theresa


oh, Marci...you just made my mouth water! I love smoked cheese as well.

06 Dec 2012 - 4:26pm

Jeanne


Hi Theresa,nWhat a great story! I have made this recipe for years, however, I never heard of adding cheese. I make them large and fill them with different things. Usually chicken salad with red grapes and almonds, curry chicken salad works well too. They are crowd pleasing and I am always asked to bring them again. I can't wait to try the smaller cheesey version. I will bring them to the tasting room Christmas party and serve them with the Pinot Noir. Yummmm :)

Theresa


I love little choux puffs filled, Jeanne! I have a crab salad recipe that is to die for in choux. I hope you like the gougeres...similar, but a slight change of pace.

06 Dec 2012 - 8:24pm

Christiane KYPRAIOS


Very interesting indeed ! Here (in France I mean) gougres are very popular, we serve them at cocktail party, mostly filled with gruyre, they are very light and tasty. I wonder what is Chef P.'s whole name ?... Where was his restaurant in France ? Thanks, greetings from France. Christiane

07 Dec 2012 - 10:53pm

Lara


Oh yummy! I am so gonna try to make these! And I love your culinary school story. Instantly reminds me of a professor I had that nobody could stand and he DID NOT give A's. Well I adored him and got an A in every class I took from him. Some people just understand each other better when their passions for what they do are truly the same. Your Chef sounds lovely.

Theresa


The shared-passion definitely helps, Lara...but I think a well-timed smile also does wonders with those characters. LOL

09 Dec 2012 - 3:34am

ML


Oh I think I have some of my home made cheddar down in the cave that should be great used in this recioe

Theresa


ML -- that makes me envious beyond belief! A cheese cave...sigh.

03 Jan 2013 - 9:58pm

Ashley Miller


I'm on my third read of the series (currently halfway through dragonfly In Amber), and these bad boys just came out of the oven! Oh my goodness, they are delicious, airy, and very satisfying! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

28 Feb 2013 - 1:10am

Lorna


I have a batch of these just out of the oven, & amazingly enough, they look almost like yours! I'm hosting our book club tomorrow evening (we get together for our love of appetizers, wine, & general scintillating conversation as much as to discuss our book) so I plan to serve them then. Thank you for broadening my culinary horizons as well as introducing me to JAMMF!

Theresa


Lorna, how fabulous! You've got me smiling from ear to ear...have fun with your bookclub tonight!

11 Mar 2013 - 7:03am

Jennys Onion …


is also a favourite of my Chef Instructor from culinary school, Chef Patrice. A regional dish from the French province of his birth, Alsace, he was very definite about how

24 Dec 2014 - 9:47pm

Stephanie


I just got done making several dozen of these delightful savouries!! If I can control myself from eating them all while wrapping gifts and watching Christmas in Connecticut, I will be bringing them to my mom's for Christmas tomorrow. Thank you so much for the recipe!! I made both Gruyere and aged Cheddar. I used ground mustard in the Gruyere gougres (and I've been driving my kids nuts saying that over and over today, because it rhymes, lol), and I used freshly ground black pepper in the cheddar. Every batch came out wonderful!! Airy and light and sooooo tasty!! Thank you again and Merry Christmas!

20 Aug 2014 - 10:05am

Summer Recipe …


recipe you like. Ours was a mixture of the two and dinner was delicious! I also served these gougres with dinner. Both are great with a French

17 Sep 2014 - 1:22pm

Ruth

When do you add the cheese?

10 Nov 2014 - 3:10am

Lauren


Wow those look good! Do you think they could be made with gluten free flour? Maybe almond flour? Two of my friends have gluten allergies and I try to avoid gluten. Suggestions?

Theresa


Hmmm...I have my worries that it won't work, but I always encourage people to try, especially if you're a good GF baker. I don't have any experience with GF baking, but my worry here is that all of that beating of the dough is to develop the gluten, which works together with the eggs to provide lift.nnI would be tempted to start with a GF flour mix that contains additives to mimic gluten, rather than "plain old" almond flour. nnGood luck...and let us know if you try! Pics please. :)

22 Nov 2014 - 10:12pm

Carol Mackey


Hello, Theresa, so looking forward to making these this year--they will be a wonderful addition to the appetizer list for Thanksgiving--and I can just see my 11-year old grandson (and 24-year-old granddaughter) scarfing them down. They are the ultimate cheese-lovers in our family--there will be about 17 (never know about the "extras") gathering together in CO this year, with the rest celebrating with "the outlaws" around the country. Growing up in the Detroit, MI area, we had a wonderful candy company that made the world's best Hot Fudge Sauce--Sanders was the name--and sometime in the mid '50s they came up with the most delicious dessert--new to the Detroit area, anyway--and they christened it a "Cream Puff Hot Fudge". Of course, the cream puff was made with a sweet choux pastry. My favorites were filled with chocolate ice cream, and at Christmas, peppermint candy ice cream, slathered in their wonderful Hot Fudge Sauce. Sanders also made their own ice cream. Whenever my sweet tooth is giving me fits, this is one of my favorite "pacifiers", but with home-made HFS--the company sold to another local candy maker and they changed the recipe, adding a noticeable amount of co syrup (yuk) and increasing their distribution, sacrificing quality for quntity, IMNSHO. Thanks for reminding me--I'll have to make some over the holidays, as well as your yummy gougeres.

17 Jan 2015 - 2:45am

M Woods


Loved the recipe. I'm trying the frozen after piping. We'll see. :)

23 Feb 2015 - 6:19am

Anon


Gougres (Cheese Savouries) from Dragonfly in Amber

04 Apr 2015 - 12:31pm

Evie LePelley


I just found this recipe just the other day! I am planning a premiere party for the 2nd half of Outlander tonite! Im not the best cook but I bet I can do this one. Thank you so much for the recipe . I have a feeling that they are just going to be so yummy!

12 Dec 2015 - 5:33am

Carol Mackey


This year I'm doubling the batch--my (then) 15 year old grandson scarfed down half last year's batch before everyone arrived!! _He_ loved them.I don't think The Ultimte Cheese Lovers even got a whiff . . .! =D

11 Apr 2016 - 9:14pm

Ryan


I made these little balls of joy for my premiere meal this weekend, and I could not have been more happy with with them. I was afraid that this recipe wouldn't turn out here in the Highlands of Colorado, but without any modifications they came out wonderfully airy and cheesy. I think they may become a regular on our table for this season. I'll have to at least double the batches though. They went so quick! I'll have to try some other cheeses next time. I wonder if a blue cheese would work at all or if it would be too moist?

Theresa


That's great to know, Ryan! I have zero experience with altitude baking, so I'm glad they worked. I wouldn't use all blue cheese, but you could certainly incorporate some into a batch made with cheddar or gruyere. I bet they'd be awesome!

08 May 2016 - 2:41pm

Michelle


I have made these several times now - great recipe! I have frozen the piped grougeres on small pieces of parchment, placing them in the single serve plastic cups in which pudding, jello or fruit are sold. I just remove them from the cup, placing them on a cookie sheet, on it's parchment and bake. I can bake 1 or 2 or a bunch. Thank you for this recipe, Theresa!

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