The call for canapés: gougères


Photograph: Jason Lowe

Photograph: Jason Lowe

The eternal challenge with drinks parties is finding the perfect accompaniment for the all-important wine. With the requirement to be effortless, enticing and impressive, it can seem an impossible task – but our Head Chef Stewart Turner has the solution, with these scrumptious cheesy canapés.

These delicate cheese puffs are always top of my canapé list – moreish and utterly delicious. I always make a big batch and freeze them so that they are on hand if needed for unexpected guests and impromptu parties. I use Gruyère as it’s my favourite, but any cheese will do (just don’t scrimp on the quality or quantity!).

  • 400ml water
  • 120g butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 240g strong flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 5g dried yeast – activated in a little warm water
  • 200g grated Gruyère
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter and salt and bring to the boil. Add the flour and beat it in until smooth. Continue to beat the mix until it pulls away from the pan.

Scrape the dough into a mixing bowl and let it cool for a minute. Beat two eggs into the dough and beat thoroughly. Add the yeast, then beat in the remaining eggs one at a time. Add the cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe tablespoon-sized mounds onto the baking sheets, two inches apart. Brush with a little beaten egg and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until well-risen and golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.