Have I ever waxed rhapsodic to you about gougères, those ethereal, light, French cheese-bread puffs that I can never stop eating? Basically, I like any kind of soft, warm, cheesed bread type of creation. In Louisiana, no cocktail party ever seemed complete without cheese straws: cayenne-spiced cheddar-flour dough piped onto a baking sheet and then cooked. They are just awesome. And my family is also big on cheese-and-sausage balls: cheddar and spicy sausage grated and ground and mixed with flour and rolled into balls and baked. A gougère is rather like a more elegant version of those: it is a ball but more like a balloon; it is cheesy but in a breathy sort of way; and unlike the Louisiana delights, gougères seem almost weightless, lighter than air treats just touching the surface of a serving tray.
Here in DC, you can get solid gougères at Central, Michel Richard's non-hoity-toity joint. As an aside, Central makes insanely good buttermilk fried chicken and a mean homemade KitKat bar. But I digress.
I've never made gougères but have just found a recipe in my new Bon Appétit. It doesn't look difficult and uses a combo of Gruyère and Asiago that sounds lovely. Thyme is prominent too, but I'm going to make half with and half without as I'm a purist with gougères. So, sometime this weekend, you can expect pics and a review of my first attempt.