GF Ratio Rally: Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères

If you think that the custard filled, chocolate topped cream puff is the ultimate pâte à choux, then you need a taste of the savory stinky cheese cousin, the gougère,

Ridiculously easy and savory – they can be created in minutes.  If you spot someone coming up the driveway you can almost have them baking in the oven when they ring the doorbell.  Ok. Kidding, but only a little bit.

The 2-1-1-2 ratio is practically spot on for these with a few minor adjustments to accommodate the GF flours.  The only trick to remember for pâte à choux (cream puff) batter is to not use too much butter or too many eggs, both of which can make them flat rather than puffy.

Ruhlman’s iPhone Ratio app calls for 2 parts liquid, 1 part butter, 1 part flour and 2 parts egg.  Translated that means 8 oz. milk, 4 oz. butter, 4 oz. flour (AP) and 8 oz. eggs.

My choux recipe is pretty close:

  • 8 oz. milk, plus
  • 2.75 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4.75 oz. GF flour mix
  • 8 oz. (ish) large eggs (about 4)

While the Ruhlman book, Ratio is great for a book-shelf resource, I totally love the iPhone app: quick, easy and I can look up anything anywhere – like in the market while shopping or while I am out having coffee and dreaming of a great GF cream puff because the coffee shop has no gluten-free treats.

Don’t forget to pop down to the bottom of the post for the list of the other participants in this month’s GF Ratio Rally.  Click on each to go read about other fabulous creations using choux batter.  And many thanks to our fabulous GF Rally Host for this month, Erin of the The Sensitive Epicure.

Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères

This is virtually the same choux batter as the cream puffs (look to the right) sans the sugar, cream filling and chocolate topping.  You can add herbs, cracked pepper, a slight bit more salt and your choice of stinky grated or crumbled cheeses.

Bake them as tiny bites, or as slightly bigger bites.  There is wiggle room in the types of flours you can use (but not the total weight).  While we enjoy the mix I detail below, it is just fine to substitute whatever flour makes you happy.  I’ve also made them successfully using slightly more butter and with one less egg (ran out of eggs).

Unlike baseball-sized cream puffs these are supposed to be made smaller as little appetizers.  You can make a zillion with one recipe and feed the neighborhood.  Go ahead.  They’ll love you.

This recipe makes about 55 little puffs.  Enjoy them the same day for best flavor.  But, you can refresh leftovers the next day (they will get soggy overnight no matter how you store them)by reheating for a few minutes.  The dough can be scooped and frozen raw for using later on – just bake a few minutes more following the general baking directions.

Gougères Ingredients

  • 130 grams or 4.75 ounces gluten-free flour (1 oz. each brown rice flour, white rice flour, oat flour and almost 2 oz. of potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2.75 ounces or scant 1/3 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup or 8 ounces of whole milk
  • 8 ounces-ish or 4 large whole eggs, room temperature (important)
  • lots of freshly cracked pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives (optional)
  • smattering of herbs (parsley, thyme – your choice) (Optional)
  • 4 ounces finely grated sharp stinky cheeses (cheddar, Romano, Asiago or stinky blue)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Weigh out flours and mix with  salt, pepper, and herbs (if using).  Whisk to mix, and set aside.

If the eggs are cold, place in a large glass measuring cup or bowl with warm (not hot) water to come to room temperature – about 2 minutes.  Don’t use cold eggs!

Then crack them into a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium tall, heavy-bottom saucepan heat the milk and butter until it comes to a low simmer.  With a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture all at once and stir like crazy.  A filmy layer will form on the bottom of the pan. Turn down the heat to low.

Cook for about a minute or two until it all comes together and the spoon leaves an impression in the dough when pressed.  The color will be boring beige.

Remove from the burner and turn dough into a stand mixer bowl.

Mix in one egg at a time (vigorously) until fully incorporated (no egg smear) and keep doing that until the eggs are used up.  Make sure that last one is really incorporated and give it one more stir.

Add any additional pepper, herbs, and cheeses and mix until incorporated.  Use a spatula to fold one more time and make sure everything is picked up from the bottom of the mixer bowl.

Using a small scoop or a large eating teaspoon plop little domes as neatly as possible on the prepared baking sheet.  Twirl like you are eating spaghetti to finish the dome.  You want to make the plop of the dough go up as much as possible, not out.

You can certainly pipe them as well.  Just be sure to smoosh the end point on each dough mound so it doesn’t burn (um, like mine did…).

Space about a half-inch apart and you should get about 25-30 blobs on each baking sheet depending on how large you make them.  The size you make is totally up to you.  They will grow just slightly as they bake so give them a bit of room to expand.

Right before tossing the plops of dough in the oven, using your fingers, rain a little water on them and baking sheet – just a few raindrops – don’t drown them – and place in the oven.

Time for about 13 minutes.  When the timer goes off don’t open the oven!  Just pop the temperature down to 350 and continue baking about 15 minutes more for small puffs and about 25 minutes more for larger puffs.

Remove them when they look just slightly too brown but not burned.  That’s when you know they are done: you want that toasty brown look.

Place each Gougère on a baking rack to cool.  Poke a hole with a toothpick in its bottom to let the steam escape while cooling if they seem to need it (as in they look a little steamy).  Otherwise, just let them cool a little bit.

They taste great warm as well as at room temperature.

Happy snacking.

And for more ways to use pâte à choux dough, read on:

  • T.R.of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Beignets

13 responses to “GF Ratio Rally: Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères

  1. Wow, a savory treat! Have you ever tried freezing the finished product and thawing it out later? These would be great to keep in the freezer.

    • Gluten Free Canteen

      freezing works fine – best unbaked frozen and finishing them in the oven. even if they’re baked already, you will have to reheat to get them crispy again, but only a little. thanks, L!

  2. Happy snacking indeed! These make me crave a picnic with you. 🙂 Yum!

  3. I love the shape, I love the color, I love everything about your gougères!!! Great job!!

  4. you make it all look so effortless… lovely gougeres! thanks for sharing.

  5. These look so delicious – and they are beautiful! Cracked pepper and cheese – perfect with so many entrees!

  6. Ah, we were on the same wavelength with this one! I love gougères! Yours look divine. And I know we’re supposed to smooth down the peaks, but yours look so cute with pointy little tops! Your photos are making me want some. Right. Now.

    • Gluten Free Canteen

      Hi Tara – yeah, I totally forgot to smooth those little peaks. They look a little crazy. But I was just happy to have them puff up! I loved your post with all the Memorial Day photos and am glad the kids are feeling better!

  7. Yum! I can almost taste them through my monitor. Thanks for participating in this month’s challenge!

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