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Olive Balls (aka Olive Gougeres)

September 23, 2012 by admin

I had a friend coming over and wanted to make an appetizer, looked in my fridge, saw what I had on hand, and then made this. Not from my brain. I had a recipe from some magazine (all I can see on it is “Cooking Pleasures” and I’m pretty sure that’s not the name of the zine.) Anyway. These turned out GREAT. Plus, you can freeze them and then heat them up for 10 minutes in the oven. This recipe was so spontaneous, I couldn’t find my camera to take pictures so I used my iPhone.

These look huge, but the balls are really about the size of a quarter. The perfect size to, uhm, pop in your mouth. If you want a ball in your mouth.

Olive Balls (aka Olive Gougeres)
Recipe type: Appetizer, Balls
Delicious fluffy and slightly salty balls.
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut up
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup chopped pitted high-quality green (or kalamata) olives
  1. Heat oven to 400. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; boil until butter is melted. Remove from heat; Stir in flour until completely blended. (Mixture will be like play dough--eventually.)
  3. Return to heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture comes together and pulls away from the pan.
  4. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in eggs one at a time. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in olives. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Prick each puff with the tip of a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. You can make these ahead, let them cool, freeze them, and then reheat from frozen for ten minutes at 350.


So the recipe is a little annoying, but if you can be really anal and follow all the directions, then these are actually pretty easy to make. Here is the photo evidence of the process:

Prep these ingredients before making the dish. The French have a fancy word for this, but who cares. You just prep it.

Then boil the water and butter and salt. Add the flour. And then stir like mad. It will look gross at first, but then it starts to come together. You’ll feel relief when this happens, because otherwise, you’ll be serving curds, and no one likes curds…except people in Wisconsin. (Go Badgers!)


Ready for eggs!

Uh…start to panic because this does NOT look good.

Oh. Okay. Start to relax. This is looking a lot better.

Add your cheese.

Stir and cackle like a witch. (Even though that’s stereotyping and we all know that real witches don’t cackle; they purr.)

Add your olives. I used both green and kalamata because that’s what I had in my fridge.


Now for the fun part! You get to shape your balls! Sadly, they’re too sticky to roll around in the palm of your hand, so you’ll just have to slap these balls on a baking sheet using a spoon. Don’t tell anyone you’re slapping balls, especially not a guy. They’ll laugh and then be mildly uncomfortable. Actually, you might want to tell them you’re slapping balls, because you’re funny.

Remember: less ball is more ball. These bastards will puff right up.


Bake them up. They’ll be golden and crisp on the outside, and deliciously puffy, soft, and melt-in-your mouth on the inside. Mmmm. Next time I might even add more cheese.

And here they are one more time: Olive Balls. Olive Gougeres. Cheesy Crisp Balls Of Goodness and Love.



  1. Roxanne Victor says:

    Thrilling to watch and a real keeper!

  2. Margaret Y. says:

    These look excellent! I want to make them!

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