I wanted to make gougeres with a Mexican cheese, called Cojita, which is named after a town in the state of Michoacan. There are two types of cotija cheese, fresh and aged. I used the aged kind, cotija añejo, which is harder and drier, like parmesan. I added slightly less salt than the original recipe because this type of cheese is already fairly salty.
cotija cheese gougeres (based on this recipe from simple bites)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, scant
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese, crumbled small pieces
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the water, milk, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat and cook until the butter is melted.
Add the flour and stir until a dough ball forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Continue stirring until the dough is no longer sticky and a film forms at the bottom of the pan. Stir rapidly for another minute of so until the batter is smoother and shiny.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and leave it to cool somewhat for about a minute before adding the eggs, one at a time, stirring each time until each egg is incorporated fully before adding the next one.
Check the consistency of the paste. It should be stick enough to stand, but still soft enough to spread. Add the cheese and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Drop tablespoon-sized mounds of the paste, using a wet finger to shape into domes, pressing on any irregularities or unevenness of each dome shaped mound.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans from front to back and top to bottom racks, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and cook for another 15 minutes or until the puffs are golden and crisp. Begin checking after 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. because they may not need all 15 minutes to be done.
Turn off heat and leave in oven with a closed door for another 15 minutes so the insides can dry out. (For this step, I opened the oven door a little and only left it in there for about 7 minutes, because my oven was still very hot and I didn’t want to get the gougeres too brown.)
Instead of baking them after you scoop or form them into domes, you can also freeze and store them in freezer bags for up to 2 months. The gougeres can be baked up to three hours in advance and reheated in a 350 degrees F. oven for 5 minutes just before serving.