Gougères with Ossau-Iraty and Piment d’Espelette | culture: the word on cheese
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Gougères with Ossau-Iraty and Piment d’Espelette

Gougères with Ossau-Iraty and Piment d’Espelette

Fresh and fruity Piment d’Espelette pairs with sweet, nutty, and floral Ossau-Iraty to give these classic cheese puffs an irresistible whiff of the French Basque region. The gougères are best eaten warm, but they can be made a few hours in advance and re-crisped in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes just before serving.
Servings 24 servings


  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1⁄2 cups grated Ossau-Iraty about 6 ounces, divided


  • Heat oven to 425°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine 1⁄2 cup water, milk, butter, salt, and Piment d’Espelette in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Warm over medium heat until butter has melted.
  • Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until mixture pulls away from sides into a smooth ball. Dough will smell nutty and glisten, and a thin film will develop on bottom of sauce- pan. Keep stirring for another minute or two to dry dough.
  • Transfer dough to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until all steam has escaped and dough feels tepid, a minute or two.
  • With mixer on medium-high add eggs one by one, allowing each egg to fully incorporate and scraping sides of bowl if needed. Dough might turn lumpy at first, but it will eventually come together and smooth out. Turn mixer to low and stir in 1 cup grated cheese.
  • Using two spoons dipped in warm water, form balls of batter 1 to 11⁄2 inches in diameter and place on prepared baking sheets, allowing 11⁄2 inches of space between each. Sprinkle generously with remaining 1⁄2 cup grated cheese.
  • Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Gougères should puff up and rise. Without opening oven, decrease heat to 375°F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until gougères are golden and firm. Serve warm.
  • For extra crispy puffs, 5 minutes before they’re done (do not open oven before this or puffs will deflate), use a toothpick or skewer to poke a hole into each gougère to release steam; return to oven to finish baking.

Polina Chesnakova

Polina Chesnkova is a Seattle-based food writer, cooking class instructor, and the author of Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes.

Bettina Makalintal

Bettina Makalintal is culture's former editorial assistant. With a background in the food industry and as a bike mechanic, she can often be found biking in search of new donut shops.

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