How Eggs Can Potentially Ruin Your Gougères

If you've never had gougères, you don't know what you're missing. They're a pastry that's light, rich, cheesy, and chewy, all at the same heavenly time. Made of choux pastry, also known as pȃte à choux, making gougères isn't hard, but it is a little time-consuming, and it involves some techniques novice cooks may be unfamiliar with (via Serious Eats). One of the distinguishing features of choux pastry is that some of the ingredients are cooked stovetop, with the order and timing of ingredient addition being absolutely critical.

Because choux isn't completely foolproof, it's important to understand where the pastry dough can go wrong. The Great British Bake Off explains the basic recipe calls for cooking water, butter, and salt in a saucepan. Flour is added next, off the heat, and the mixture is returned to the burner to cook until it's the texture of mashed potatoes. Next comes the addition of eggs. When gougères come out perfectly, they're air-filled bites of cheesy goodness. There is a common mistake that can flatten out your puffed perfection, though, and it's all about how you add your eggs.

Pay attention to the appearance and texture of the dough

Several common mistakes are made when preparing gougères regarding the number of eggs and dough that fails to rise in the oven, as Kitchn outlines. The trouble is that a recipe for gougères may specify the number of eggs, but the quantity of beaten egg that is actually needed for the recipe may vary, depending on the kind of flour used, how long the dough was cooked, and even on the humidity of the day you're making the pastry.

For that reason, it's best to beat the number of eggs the recipe calls for, and add them in three stages, checking the pastry's texture after each addition. Kitchn explains how you know when you've added enough beaten egg: "If you scoop up a little bit with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave behind a little 'V' of dough on the spatula." Adding too much egg will make the dough too wet, which will prohibit the desired rise in the oven. As with most recipes, practice will give you the experience to be confident you've nailed your choux pastry. And, if you're looking for a gluten-free version of gougères, try our recipe for Brazilian cheese puffs, which uses tapioca flour.