Gougères are little French cheese puffs made with choux pastry. They come from Burgundy where I grew up and were served when tasting wine in cellars. They are also served as an appetizer for special occasions.
It's with nostalgia that I've been trying to veganize my mom's recipe but the challenge has been to keep the puffs puffy. During the holidays, I was finally able to get a reproducible good result. You will want to follow this recipe pretty closely as there is lots of science behind choux pastry.
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup soy milk
* 2 oz vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
* 3 oz bread flour (*)
* 1/2 cup Just Egg
* 1/4 cup soy milk (to mix with the Just Egg)
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3 oz vegan shredded cheese (I use Violife mozzarella shreds)
(*) All purpose flour can be used but the puffs will be less airy. Einkorn all-purpose flour also works well, but needs to be sifted first as it tends to clump more.
Preheat oven to 400F.
1) Start choux dough.
Put water, soy milk, and butter in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Mix until the butter dissolves. Add the flour all at once. Turn the heat to low. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated. The dough will dry and start forming a ball and come off the sides of the pot easily.
Put the dough into a bowl to cool to room temperature. To speed up the cooling, flatten the dough and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Important: This cooling phase is critical, otherwise the eggs will start cooking when added to the dough. The eggs should only start cooking in the oven.
2) Prepare the egg mixture and cheese.
Mix in a small bowl the soy milk, Just Egg, and salt.
Chop the shredded cheese in small pieces.
3) Finish choux dough.
Once the dough is at room temperature, add the egg mixture a few spoons at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Repeat until all the egg mixture is incorporated.
Add cheese and mix.
4) Form and bake the puffs.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe the dough in small mounds, about 2" wide and 1" high using a pastry bag with a round tip.Bake until puffs are evenly golden brown. It takes about 30-35 minutes.
Important: Do not open the oven door while baking! This will deflate the puffs. Turn on the oven light to check on their color in the final few minutes of baking.
Best served warm. But can be kept for a couple of days, they will just soften a bit.