This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of "Testado, Provado & Aprovado!" taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!
When I think of tapioca I think of the little balls that you use to make a sort of custardy dessert - I remember having it when I was young and I wasn't a fan! But this recipe uses tapioca starch which is also called Arrowroot - I found it in Coles and it looks like this . Its gluten free so these little savoury bites are a great option if you need to consider that!
I used Colby cheese but you can pretty much use any cheese to suit your palate. My husband was suggesting other fillings such as chives etc!
They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, the recipe makes a lot, you can apparently freeze the uncooked balls and then cook them as needed.
When cooked they look like they will be crunchy inside but as you can see from the second photo below they are more chewy!
Recipe from Renata.
TRADITIONAL PÃO DE QUEIJO Servings:
Yields about 80 small balls
500 gm (4 cups) tapioca starch (If you have access to sour tapioca, you can use 250gm (2 cups) of each)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2-3/4 tablespoons (40 ml) (1½ oz) (40 gm) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) salt (or to taste depending on how salty your cheese is)
3 cups (750 ml) (9 oz) (250gm) Monterey Jack Cheese (or another cheese of your liking, or a mix of cheeses), coarsely grated
1 to 3 large eggs
- Heat milk, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as it may boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Sift tapioca starch into a large bowl.
- Pour the boiled (hot) mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork. The milk mixture will not be enough to form a dough yet. You will have a lumpy mixture, that's what it is supposed to be.
- Keep stirring with the fork, breaking down the lumps as much as you can, until the mixture cools down to warm.
- At this point, preheat your oven to moderately hot 400° F/200° C/gs mark 6
- Add the grated cheese to the tapioca mixture and mix well, now using your hands.
- Add one egg at a time, mix with your hands until dough comes together. I suggest you lightly beat the egg with a fork and add little bits until the dough comes together into a soft but pliable dough. You only have to knead it a bit, not as much as you knead a yeasted bread. It's OK if it is slightly sticky.
- Form balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat or lightly greased with vegetable oil. If necessary, you can oil your hands to make shaping easier. The size of the balls may vary from small bite-sized balls to the size of ping pong balls. They will puff up quite a bit after baking. I personally prefer the smaller ones.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until they just start to brown on the bottom. You may have golden spots of cheese on the crust. Don't over-bake as they will get hard and bitter.
Thanks Renata for a great challenge!