This is a little savory treat from France made out of pâte à choux, a traditional cookie dough that’s simple to make. It is a quick, easy-to-eat, easy-to-serve appetizer that pairs best with a glass of champagne. (Makes 4 dozen gougères.)
Place water, salt and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn off heat and add the flour to the boiling water/butter, then mix with a wooden spoon so the starch absorbs the water. Place back on the stove, turn the heat on and cook until the dough doesn’t stick to the pot any more, 1-2 minutes. Place the Gruyère in the bowl of a stand mixer and place the hot dough on top. Beat on low speed to melt the cheese and combine the ingredients. Add one egg at a time until fully incorporated. Add 15 turns of black pepper and mix again. The dough will have a nice “peak” when it’s finished. Chill dough overnight in a bowl with plastic wrap directly covering the dough.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper that’s been sprayed in the corners to secure it. Place chilled dough in a piping bag and pipe about 1 teaspoon onto the baking sheet by starting in the middle and pushing, then making a quick turn to stop the excess. Continue until the baking sheet is filled with gougères, making sure they’re 1 inch apart. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper, then lightly spray with water, which will help with the cooking process. Bake until gougères are light and feel hollow, 20 minutes.
Remove gougères from the oven. (Optional: enjoy with a glass of champagne!)