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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bacon, Chive and Cheese Gougères

One of the most difficult parts of moving to a new place is establishing a new social network.  I have been lucky enough to find the International Women's Club of Lucerne here and it has truly helped me with the integration. 

They have helped me to understand Swiss German, to learn about this country, to make new friends and to do some really wonderful activities.  I have met amazing women from all over the world who generously share their talents, knowledge, stories and cultures.

We recently attended the Summer Barbecue event that was held on a beautiful Swiss farm.  We were asked to contribute either an appetizer or desert.  I thought about what to bring and these little gougères, which we ate often in France, were an easy choice.  They can be eaten when you are standing up holding a glass and represent, for me, a little bit of my different homes.  

Gougères are from the Burgundy region of France (one of my favorite places) and are made with wonderful Swiss Gruyère cheese (another favorite place).  Perfect combination.

Making and eating these also brings back a wonderful memory for me.  When my mother and father came to visit us in Paris, we spent a wonderful moment together visiting my favorite outdoor market.  On the way home, my dad expressed that he was a little hungry just as we were passing the wonderful window display of Maison Pou.  I quickly went in and ordered 3 large gougères that had tempted me from the window on many occasions.  We ate them on the way home while talking and enjoying each other's company.  Now, when I go back to Montreal,  my parents still talk about it as one of their favorite Paris moments, mine too! (there were many).  

You will need:  For about 70 small bite sized gougères
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) of water
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) of whole milk
  • 110g (1/2 cup) of butter
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 135g (1 generous cup) of flour
  • 4 medium eggs (or 3 large)
  • 5 slices (60g) of bacon cut in small pieces (diced)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chives chopped
  • 50g (1/2 cup) of grated gruyère cheese
  • 50g (1/2 cup) of grated pepper pecorino cheese
  • espelette or cayenne pepper for topping
The pepper pecorino adds a lot of flavor but if you do not have it, you can use 100g of Gruyère or a cheese of your choice and add some freshly ground pepper. 


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400° F)
  2. Cook the chopped bacon in a pan over medium heat until it begins to crisp slightly.  Strain on a paper towel and reserve;
  3. Over medium high heat, put the water, milk, salt, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat;
  4. Add the flour and combine well with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will come together and form a paste; 
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue stirring for about 3 minutes to dry out the batter;
  6. Place the batter in a bowl and allow it to cool down for about 5 minutes;
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time and blend well after each one.  You can use a hand or stand mixer for this (it is important that each egg be added separately to ensure that the dough will not separate);
  8. Add the chopped chives, cheeses and bacon and combine well;
  9. Prepare a piping bag with a small round tip and fill with the gugères batter;
  10. Start by piping the dough in a 2.5cm (1 inch) circle and bring it up a little to give the gougère some height;
  11. Sprinkle top with a little espelette pepper (or cayenne);
  12. Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C (400°F). Reduce oven to 185°C (350°F) and continue baking for another 15 minutes;
  13. Remove and let cool on a rack;
Reheat a little when ready to serve as they are delicious when warm

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