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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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