Cheese puffs - gougères

Cumin and cayenne pepper gougères (cheese choux puffs) recipe! A great apéritif …

Savoury cakes and snacks

… for a dinner or party!  Or a rainy day snack behind a window (scroll down photo101 people!).  So imagine you’ve been climbing in the mountains four days and when you return a group of climbing friends come to your house for a little party!  Oops.  This happened last week and inviting them wasn’t perhaps the wisest idea but I had a cake plan that included gougères which are fast and easy to make.  No really, this time I mean it!  In case you’re not acquainted with them they’re naked profiteroles with no cream or chocolate – choux puffs with grated cheese folded in and sprinkled on top!  And I’ve added some cumin and cayenne pepper to give them a subtle kick though freshly ground black pepper is lovely too.  Great alone or with cured ham, olives or other bits and pieces.  My aunt’s been making them for years as an apéritif at family meals or parties over in France and sometimes they turn up at the table with a snail tucked into each little puff!  We’ll leave that for another day as funnily enough I have no snails handy.  Later I’ll tell you her little gougères disaster story.  Meanwhile, have a look at these little cuteys!


Gougères or French cheese puffs


So dinky and handy dandy

Freeze and save for a rainy day

Or nibble on them straight away!

glass photo - rain on a windscreen

My glass photo:  a rainy day on a windscreen!  Time for gougères!

Cheesy smile.  How to incorporate the photo101 ‘glass’ homework into a recipe blog!  I modified the photo with PicMonkey so the drops stand out.  It’s grate isn’t it?  Grated cheese to be precise… hee hee!  Can’t take it anymore?  Juvenile humour too much?  Quick, to the kitchen batman!

And don’t let the terrible puns drive you over the edge!  Yes, the photo101 ‘edge’ coursework!

jagged edges

Going over the jagged edge (Let me back up! No more jokes, I promise!)

Those are my photos and now back to the cheese puffs!  I’ve whipped up a new batch of gougères with cumin and cayenne pepper!  Hand them round while they’re warm!   Though they’re fine when they’ve cooled down too.  Talk amongst yourselves, drink, nibble…


Gougères at a party

Aha, some of you want to know the recipe.  Why it’s our old friend Mr Choux with some cheese and spices added!


DSCF4353Prepare your baking tray – (30x40cm) with baking paper on it

Ingredients and method

Cumin and cayenne pepper cheese puffs

Cumin and cayenne pepper gougères

1.  Weigh in separate small bowls:

  • 87g plain flour (sieved) with spices whisked in:
  1. quarter teaspoon ground cumin seeds (or ground cumin) and a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper (very slightly spicy and my favourite) or
  2. freshly ground black pepper to taste (also delicious but more neutral) or
  3. spices of your choice or add extra cayenne pepper for a spicier gougère!
  • 180 to 185g beaten egg (around 3 medium-large eggs) – the quantity varies so be flexible
  • 50g grated hard cheese (gruyère, emmental, mild cheddar or comté) to fold into the choux pastry
  • 25g piece of hard cheese to grate on top of the choux

2.  Put the following ingredients in a small heavy-based saucepan on low heat so the butter melts.  Note:  Some recipes use only water (125g) resulting in drier gougères but I prefer them with some milk and a bit softer inside.

  • 62g water
  • 63g semi-skimmed milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 3g salt

3.  Bring the water, milk, butter and salt to the boil on medium heat, boil hard for 1 minute then take off heat.

Choux pastry, steps 4,5 and 6

Stir over heat until the choux pastry comes together

Choux pastry steps 7,8 and 9

The 'pointe' for choux pastry

This is the ‘pointe’ you’re looking for.  The pastry should fall from your spoon with a plop.

Now mix 50g of grated cheese into the choux pastry!

Choux pastry steps 10 and 11


You can also do this with a spoon if you don’t have a piping bag.

12.  Grate the 25g of cheese directly over the cheese puffs.

S0301030Put in the oven and as soon as they’re in switch the oven off!

Choux oven instructions

Fork in the oven door

Put a fork in the oven door for the last 10 mins baking

Choux out of the oven

The gougères are out! 🙂

Bigger choux

Pierce a hole in the bottom of each choux with a skewer to let steam out, so they stay drier and crisper.



Taking care of your little puffs

They can be served warm or at room temperature.  Let them dry and cool in the open (not in a field but the kitchen).  Keeps in an airtight tin container for a few days.  Otherwise store in the freezer for up to a few months.  Defrost at room temperature then you can refresh them 5-10 minutes in the oven at medium temperature.

You can see more tips on a What’s Cooking America post Gruyère cheese gougères, in the final notes section.

A little story

Now about my aunt’s little gougère story.  Well, as I said before she’s been making them for years then suddenly, disaster!  What was happening?  Have a guess!

Gougères or cheese puffs


1 hour later

Okay, I’ll put you out of your misery.  Apparently she’d switched to a new butter a few weeks before.  She eventually realised the new brand was to blame for her flat little gougères – three times in a row! (mais c’est pas possible!  surely not!).  So she switched back to her trusty ole’ brand and tada!  Her gougères are back as family favourites.  So sometimes it really isn’t you… it’s your ingredients!  Watch out for flour and eggs too!

Cumin and cayenne pepper cheese puffs

Have a little cumin and cayenne pepper gougère!

Anyway, nice to see you again my imaginary party friends/real savoury readers!  Hope to bump into some of you at the Fiesta Friday party organised by Angie!  Cheese puff anyone?  Have a happy rest of the week with not much rain but lots of cheery cheesiness!!!  Au revoir mes p’tits choux!!! 🙂

P.S.  Mes petits choux = term of endearment.  Literal translation:  ‘my little cabbages’ (or choux pastries if you prefer!)

Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

43 thoughts on “Cumin and cayenne pepper gougères (cheese choux puffs) recipe! A great apéritif …”

  1. When I got your email for this very interesting dish, the links for both the original post and the comments, brought up ‘page cannot be found.’ But I clicked on the URL in your email info.

    Now to the really great post! First, Mr. Quantum would LOVE these. I’d be afraid if I made a full batch, he’d have them gobbled down before I got them stored away! lol Wow, @ the different brand of butter making all the difference in how something raises or not.

    Did you draw those adorable little cartoon illustrations on the how to? They’re SO cute! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Finmora! I’m very happy you like the post, recipe and my drawings! 🙂 And hope you (and Mr Quantum) get to make and eat the gougères! Let me know how goes if you do and send me a photo for the gallery if you like…!

      Also, thanks for the heads up about the link… I think it’s because I first published the post with the wrong date and though I corrected it it must not be linking up properly. I don’t know how to rectify this.. oops and aargh! Thanks for persisting and finding the post anyway!

      Thanks again for all the feedback! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I’m happy you enjoyed the post and thank you for the lovely comments that have made my day too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Katie Breen Allen says:

    I’m so glad I found you through our Photo101 course!! I loved this post – the photos, the stories, the humor and of course THE RECIPE! Looking forward to reading more!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comments Katie! Very glad you enjoyed the post and to have found you too (was just visiting your blog)- Looking forward to seeing more of your amazing photos and stories too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you and same to you too! It’s true.. WordPress is a great community and discovery!! Will see you again soon! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sridevi! They’re pretty tasty and some self-control is needed to stop eating them all! 🙂


  3. I never knew choux pastry was so versatile…love the addition of cheese. Cumin & cayenne?? Why not! I’m sure these were most appreciated after the hike. Love the illustrations, Lili. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome Nancy! Lots you can do with choux pastry and quite fast to make! Yes, having a bit of a spices/spicy week but the cumin and cayenne are pretty mild. Thank you for your lovely comments and glad you like the drawings! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.