11 May 2012

Cauliflower and Mushroom Gougère

The quest for new and different vegetable dishes took me in a very different direction this evening. I have been slowly collecting the library of The Cook's Encyclopedia, a series of cookbooks compiled by various editors through Anness Publishing Limited. I like the books, as they have a wide variety of recipes that I have never come in contact with. This recipe is a great example.

It's a gougère pastry that surrounds cauliflower, onions and mushrooms. The vegetables have been sautéed and then drenched in a soft tomato sauce … it was a surprising dish as you will see … nothing special to look at, initially. After a bake in a hot oven, it transformed into a puffed and sweet-smelling dish.

I knew nothing about French gougère before this evening. So ... in case you're wondering, a gougère is a classic pâte à choux that has tiny cubes of cheese added to it. It is traditionally baked  into small round pastries that have various fillings. Mushroom or meat fillings are popular options. Gougère are often served at wine-tastings or as appetizers. In tonight’s case, I made a small casserole-sized gougère that accompanied steamed green beans with toasted almonds. SB and I have really been trying to eat less meat, so a special vegetable dish makes us feel a bit pampered and tames the carnivorous urges.

... nothing dramatic at first and I wondered if this was going to work

This dish is easy to make once you think about the progression of things. I suggest making the vegetable mixture first. Then, while the oven pre-heats, you can quickly mix up the pâte à choux. Have the cheese cubed and ready, so that the warm pastry doesn't melt it too fast before you can get it spread around the edges of the casserole dish. Once the oven is pre-heated, you can quickly put the dish together and pop it into the oven to start the 'Cinderella transformation'. It's pretty dramatic, as the choux swells and becomes golden brown as the top crust of the vegetables brown up.


... poofed up and the vegetables are just fork tender

Serving the gougère hot from the oven is recommended, as it begins to fall a bit (like a soufflé) as it cools. Have your other dishes ready to go ... just sayin'. We loved it and talked about the possibilities for the central mixture ... it was a really easy and tasty dinner option!

So here's the question ... what would you put in your gougère ? I'm thinking sweet peppers, chorizo, and onions with the same tomato sauce for next time.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Gougère

Serves 2

Filling Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, washed, dried, and broken into small florets
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 oz. large white mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and quartered
6 sprigs thyme
7 oz. chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. honey
Zest of ½ an orange
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil

Pastry Ingredients:

½ c. plus 2 tbsp. water
2 oz. butter
2 ½ oz. flour
2 large eggs
2 oz. strong Cheddar cheese, cut into very small cubes ( ¼ inch cubes)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper

Making the Dish:

  1. Make the filling by placing the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan. Toss in the onions and bring them to a lively sauté.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms give up some liquid and it begins to cook away.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets and brown them around the edges … this process takes about 1-2 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables cook, place the tomatoes, honey, and orange zest in a blender bowl and process to a smooth sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce and three of  the thyme sprigs over the cauliflower and veg. and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat when the cauliflower is just barely tender.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400° F. and lightly grease a 9-inch casserole dish that is at least three inches deep.
  7. To make the pastry, place the water and butter in a heavy saucepan and bring the water to a boil.
  8. When the butter has melted, stir the flour in all at once, making a smooth paste. Let it cool just a bit.
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring briskly to incorporate. Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper.
  10.  Stir in the cheese cubes and then quickly spread the pastry around the edges of the casserole in a ‘tube-like’ shape, leaving the center of the casserole uncovered.
  11. Mound the vegetable mixture in the central ‘hole’, taking care to leave the pastry exposed all the way around the edge. Poke three more thyme sprigs into the top of the mound.
  12. Place in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown and the top of the vegetable are browned and crusted.
  13. Remove the gougére from the oven and drizzle just a bit of olive oil over the vegetables. Serve immediately.


  1. Oh Lordy this really does look good. Love a rising pastry like this. Just so rich and tasty. I would put spinach and mushroom in mine!

  2. I have made gougeres once with not a lot of success but you have inspired me to try again using this recipe. I'm thinking I would like to do one with gruyere cheese and sherried mushrooms. I am inspired! Will let you know how it turns out.

  3. Too beautiful! Really nice post. Happy Friday!

  4. I was thinking about subbing Emmenthaler or Jarlsberg for the cheddar and using pancetta and mushrooms in the filling - maybe just a light cream sauce flavored with celery, instead of tomato. But it looks delicious just as it is and I'm always looking for interesting things to do with cauliflower. Might try it without the honey and orange and instead add a few good olives and a bit of anchovy paste to give it a bit of a Mediterranean twist.

    1. Good ideas, all! I love the idea of the cream sauce with the celery greeniness added ... I think the key is to be careful to keep the sauce minimal so that it doesn't gum up the pastry. Just enough to keep the vegetables moist and add a slight slather ... yum! The possibilities are endless, I think!

  5. I've learned so much from your blog. I have never heard of gougeres and this recipe as well as the one you plan on making next has intrigued me. I just love the look of it. I'm off to google gougeres.

  6. I've never heard of this pastry, either. The possiblities for the filling are endless! I'm already thinking of what I might find at the farmer's market tomorrow to make in this dish.

  7. This really sounds wonderful. The dish is new to me and I love the challenge the new brings with it. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  8. Dear Susan, enough with the gorgeous pictures of food already! We have both Federal Express and DHL here - please just send me the pre-cooked meals!

  9. This sounds really good. How do I print it?


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