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Choux pastry is a marvel: It comes together in a matter of minutes and is the basis of cream puffs, profiteroles, éclairs, croquembouche, French crullers, and the airy, cheesy, eggy delights called gougères. Here, the gougères are flavored with cheddar and pickled jalapeños as a nod to jalapeño poppers (shout-out to contributor Aliza Abarbanel for the idea!). You can use any color cheddar you like, but orange will give you the most dramatic look. A word on the method: While an electric mixer makes the job easier, you can definitely do this whole process by hand if you have the arm strength (and patience)—you’ll need to beat vigorously after each egg. An electric mixer, though, is likely to get you a more dramatic rise.

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Makes 26–30

oz. sharp cheddar, preferably orange


cup sliced pickled jalapeños


cup (125 g) all-purpose flour


cup (1 stick) unsalted butter


cup whole milk


tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt


tsp. freshly ground black pepper


large eggs, room temperature

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