Tuesday 28 August 2007

Cheesy bread puffs

About 4 months ago, I tasted for the first time ever, Pão de queijo, a traditional Brazilian snack. Its essentially a cheese puff, somewhat like a gougere, but different since instead of regular flour, the Brazilian version uses tapioca flour. From that first taste on, I was hooked.

I've been told that you can buy frozen versions of this treat and bake them up in your oven at home, but my philosophy is, why buy when you can make it yourself? That way, you know exactly what's going into your food. So, I scoured the internet to find a recipe and located one here.

The making of the dough itself was simple enough and while its not hard to roll out the little shapes, the dough is incredibly sticky! You'll need a generous amount of oil to rub on your hands as you're doing this. Once you get through that part though, you're rewarded with a great cheesy snack. These cheese puffs don't keep well and are best eaten hot but it does freeze well. So if you don't think you'll eat all of them at a go (and I can't possibly imagine why you wouldn't), just freeze the unbaked balls of dough and bake them up the next time you have guests over. They'll think you've been slaving away in the kitchen when in reality all you had to do was pop them on a tray and turn on the oven.

Pão de queijo
From this site

1 cup of water
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of oil
1 tsp of salt
450g tapioca starch
2 to 3 eggs
200g Parmesan cheese, grated
Bring the water, milk, oil and salt to boil in a large saucepan.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the tapioca starch. Mix well with a wooden spoon and leave to let cool.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Then, add in the eggs and knead well.

Add in the grated Parmesan and continue to knead until the dough is smooth.

To form the cheese puffs, take a tablespoon of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball. As the dough is very sticky, it is best to grease your hands with oil before you start rolling. You may also have to wash your hands occasionally to get rid of excess dough during this step.

Place the cheese puffs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for ~20 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes many