Now, I've made cream puffs before; the dough, also known as choux pastry, is actually pretty easy and delightful on its own. Gougeres are nothing more than savory cream puffs; they have cheese added to the batter. They are typically served unfilled, but in this case we are stuffing them with Antipasto.
Gougeres are not difficult to make and they freeze well, making them a handy make-ahead appetizer or snack that you can stuff if you like, or just serve plain.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1 cup shredded cheese (the more flavorful the better. Stay away from powdered cheeses if possible. We used sharp cheddar)
While you'll get a lot of dishes dirty, these come together fairly quickly. First, preheat your oven to 425 and butter two cookie sheets (or line them with silpat as I've done.)
Put the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Whisk thoroughly until the butter is fully melted.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour until it is completely incorporated.
Using a hand blender or a hand mixer, blend in each egg separately, scraping down the mixer and the sides of the pan, until all the eggs are fully incorporated and the batter is fluffy. Add the cheese in the same way, saving a few tablespoons to top the finished puffs.
Load your finished batter into a cookie press, pastry bag, or zip-top bag with the corner cut off, and pipe it onto your cookie sheet in tablespoon-sized dollops, making sure to leave room for expansion between each one.
Bake for 28 minutes. Other recipes recommend piercing the puffs and baking them at 400 for an additional 8 minutes, but I didn't find that necessary.
Antipasti Filling Ingredients
Using whatever proportions you like best, cut your antipasti into smallish pieces (I trimmed the tough leaves off the artichokes and cut them in eighths, halved the olives and diced the pepperoni) and mix together in a bowl. You could also add cubed mozzarella, black olives, capers, anchovies, pepperocini: any kind of Italian-style small bites.
When your gougeres are cool enough to eat (or after they have thawed, if using frozen) slice them in half horizontally, and fill the interior hollow with your antipasti mixture. Serve immediately.
Sparky decided he didn't like the antipasti-filled ones, so he made his own with refried beans and salsa. The filling possibilities are endless. Enjoy!