I just learned how to pronounce these correctly in the last four days. I've been saying "gough-ghairs." But it's actually "goo-zhere." Anyway, they are delicious and I have been obsessed with them.
So what are they exactly? The base is pate a choux, the stuff you use for cream puffs and eclairs. Except gougeres (the wiki article links to a NY Times recipe) are savory - no cream filling, just eggy airiness on the inside and delightful crispness on the outside, with a healthy dose of cheese and herbs mixed in. I read about them in (what else) Molly Wizenberg's Bon Appetit column after first discovering them at Tartine Bakery (thyme and pepper, mMmMm). They sounded pretty easy to make, and there are few things I love more than simple, delicious foods that are easy to make.
The first time I made them (pictured), I did it all right until the point where you add in the eggs. You start with a bit of butter and melt it in a saucepan with water and salt until it gets a bit foamy. Take it off the heat and dump in all the flour at once and begin to stir. A lot. It will form a ball and leave a thin film on the bottom (unless you use nonstick).
Then, the eggs. One at a time. This is where I messed up - I didn't incorporate the eggs as well as I should have, and as a result my gougeres did not puff up as nicely as they should have. The photo below, that is NOT what your gougeres should look like before they go in the oven. The second time I made them, I did it by hand and stirred until my arms were sore.
It's interesting because when you first add the eggs, it looks like it will never mix, and it turns into slimy clumps. Then, slowly but surely, the dough starts to accept the eggs. Then in the span of a few seconds it will totally transform into this mixture that is thick, perfectly smooth, and glossy. At that point it is ready for cheese and herbs (I have been making them with sage cuz that's what I have but you can use any number of herbs).
Spoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (or you can pipe them if you wanna get fancy), and bake for about 30 min at 400 degrees. Fantastic.