Several years ago, at a terrific Boston bar, we ordered gougeres not knowing what they were. The bar sold a limited menu of bar snacks, and the list changed daily. The gougeres, which are small cheese puffs, were 75 cents each. It seemed a bit expensive, but once we took a bite it was clear that quality-wise, this was the best bargain in town. Determined to eat this cheesy morsels of pate au choux, I consulted the Internet. Since then, gougeres have become a delicious standby. I’ve experimented with different herbs and different cheeses.
This weekend, I followed the recipe by Jacques Pepin pretty faithfully. I used Spanish smoked paprika where it calls for ‘paprika’. These were by far my best effort! The smoked paprika gave the gougeres a whole new dimension in flavor. They didn’t last long in my household.
If you’re looking for a surprisingly easy recipe that you can make ahead to serve guests, I recommend gougeres. Just don’t taste them before guests arrive, or you may not have any when they do.