Cheesy French hors d'oeuvres – sans the hors-deal

Makes 30  

Gougères are a classic French hors d’oeuvre, which are perfect at a cocktail party in lieu of a cheese board, with drinks, or simply had on their own for afternoon tea. They are essentially a cheese puff made with a choux pastry base, so they are light as clouds but enriched with blue cheese for a serious punch of flavour.  

100ml water
150ml white wine
½ tsp salt
80g unsalted butter
160g plain flour
4 eggs
150g blue cheese
Black Pepper 

Preheat the oven to 160C fan force and line two baking trays with baking paper.  

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, wine, salt and butter and bring this mixture up to a boil. Once boiling, add in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.  

Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also mix by hand at this stage, but a stand or electric mixer makes everything easier). Begin mixing on medium speed for 1-2 minutes to slightly cool the roux before adding in the eggs, one at a time, until all of the eggs are incorporated. 

Crumble over 100g of the blue cheese (reserving 50g to sprinkle over the top) and mix until combined before transferring to a piping bag fitted with a round 1cm nozzle.  

Pipe the gougères onto the prepared baking trays into 3cm rounds, leaving a good 3-4 cm between each for them to rise. Once they are all piped, sprinkle with the reserved blue cheese and crack over some fresh black pepper. Bake the gougères for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  

I like to serve these warm from the oven, but they are equally delicious once cooled.