- 350 grams Tapioca Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 cups/200g grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup milk
Pão De Queijo (pow dee kay-joo) is a traditional Brazilian snack… Anyone who has tried it has become instantly hooked. They are served in Brazil for breakfast, lunch and dinner! They are so very more-ish and once you try one it becomes obvious why they are a staple of the Brazilian diet. Best of all they are totally GLUTEN FREE! Great for all coeliacs out there or anyone else with an intolerance to gluten. This is because they are made with Tapioca flour rather than regular flour. Tapioca flour reacts with water or milk to create a gelatinous texture…. So the “Pão De Queijo’s” are like little cheese puffs or dough balls but with a delicious squishy centre. Not like melted cheese… an indescribable centre which is more like a savoury airy cheesy marshmallow. there’s nothing similar in British cooking so that’s as close as I think I can get to describing what these are like!
It’s quite difficult to find Tapioca flour in the UK… but I found this amazing packet at the Planet Organic health store, in Wandsworth. It’s an absolutely incredible (gigantic) store which I’m sure I will be visiting a lot more from now on!
I’m writing the version for those of you who don’t have a standing mixer. For those of you who do you are very lucky and most of the time I prefer to use them…. but it’s totally possible to make these without the fancy equipment.
Preheat oven to 175 C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
Simmer the milk, oil, salt together in a small sauce pan and stir the mixture until big bubbles start appearing the milk (approx. 5 mins.)
Remove from heat and add the flour… give it all a good stir for around 5 minutes. It will start to turn into a semi-gelatinous mixture… which should look like the photo below.
Transfer this dough to a large mixing bowl. After around 10 mins it should be cool to the touch. Whisk the eggs together in a jug and add them to the mixture in two parts kneading the dough with your hands. You can keep this process all in the mixing bowl as otherwise it gets really messy.
TIP: When you're done kneading the batter (takes around 8-15 mins) will resemble something halfway between cake batter and cookie dough. It's very wet and sticky and looks like you need to add more flour to it… but trust me you don't! It's completely normal if it sticks to your hands after you have kneaded the dough. Below is what it should look like after you have added the eggs kneaded it for around 10 mins.
At this point add the grated parmesan.
Now scrape all of the batter from your hands and wash your hands thoroughly taking away all traces of dough/batter from your hands.
Now grab a bowl and fill it with cold water for dipping your hand in. This is because the batter is so sticky that after every ball you roll you will want to wet your hand to roll the next one.
To make the Pão De Queijo you need to roll the batter into little balls around 1.5 inches thick. I sometimes use an Ice-Cream scoop to help me measure the right amount.
Pop the balls onto the baking tray lined with parchment paper, and keep them apart from each other to prevent them from sticking to one another as they rise slightly in the oven.
After 25 minutes remove from oven and let sit for around 5 mins.
After they have cooled a bit eat them fresh out the oven for the best possible taste!