Pate a Choux is a classic French preparation that’s used in everything from savory pastries to sweet éclairs. And, it is one of the simplest French pastries to master. The dough is extremely versatile, and here it is used to make a classic cocktail nibble called Gougeres. These little pastries are flavored with shredded Gruyere cheese, but you can substitute parmesan or get really creative and try jalapeno-jack or cheddar.
The pastries freeze extremely well, so make a big batch and pop them into freezer bags once they’re completely cool. They’re perfect with a glass of wine or a side salad and big bowl of soup.
Bring water, butter and salt to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of the saucepan. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, with an electric mixer. Beat well after each addition.
Fold in the gruyere. Dollop level tablespoons about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, 30 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and crisp.
Store gougeres in the refrigerator in zip-top plastic bags 2 days or frozen 1 week. Reheat gougeres, uncovered in a preheated 350 degree F oven 10 minutes if chilled or 15 minutes if frozen.
Makes about 2 dozen Gougeres.