Preschool Pâte à Choux (Gougeres)

You may have read our recent post about Thorough Bread and Pastry, our new favorite pâtisserie pit stop. It did not escape my notice how much both my kids loved the gougeres (French cheese puffs), especially my littlest foodie. Little guy loves the savory stuff and those little puffs are perfectly sized for wee fingers and don’t crumble away or leave sticky messes like a lot of other treats. They’re also wonderful alongside a glass of champagne for us big kids.

We decided to give them a try at home and bring them for snack day at school, a departure from our usual banana-avocado bread or our favorite raw apple muffins. This might qualify as the chic-est preschool snack ever especially when accompanied by crisp, juicy apples…. but that’s just how we roll.

My favorite 4 year old sous chef and I rolled up our sleeves and gave ourselves a primer on pâte à choux, the light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, éclairs, beignets, and gougeres, and then we set to work. Despite the fancy name these are surprisingly easy and a nice change of pace from the usual sugar-fueled cookie baking projects. Many paths led us to Dorie Greenspan’s excellent recipe from her book “Around My Fench Table” and after trying it, we need look no further. This recipe is just great and needs no tweaks or amendments. You can use any combination of cheeses you like (gouda, gruyere and cheddar are good choices), and I highly recommend piping them onto your baking tray rather then scooping them with small spoons (use can use a large ziplock with the corner cut off). Squeezing dough out of a pastry bag is great fun for little cooks and makes cleaning up a snap. You can mix up a big batch and freeze un-cooked gougeres for another day, too.

For the recipe details, I will point you in the direction of one of our very favorite blogs, The Hungry Dog. Not only will you get the 4-1-1 on Dorie’s recipe, you’ll find tons of other fabulous baking projects and great writing too.

What are your snack day favorites?

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