This is my ultimate treat! I am so excited I finally got this recipe perfectly and I can share it now! I’ve been trying different recipes for a while and eventually found the perfect one here.
Pão de queijo (cheese buns) or cheesy puffs, as I am calling them, are the Brazilian equivalent of North American donuts or muffins, something fresh we can enjoy any time of the day. It is a cheesy and puffy type of bread made out of tapioca or sour cassava flour and Parmesan (or actually any other cheese you like). This type of starch makes the dough stretchy and a bit gooey but when baked, the puffs turn into this amazing cheesy, melt in your mouth consistency, with a crisp and crunchy top. Irresistible! In Brazil, pão de queijo is the treat to have with a small espresso any time of the day, or as a quick breakfast, a snack that can be found at any bakery (padaria) or cafes around the corner, always fresh and hot, out of the oven.
The original recipe goes back to the XIX century in Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state, famous for its home made culinary, reminiscent of the big farms where milk and eggs were abundant and women were always on a quest to feed generously their large families. To this day it is a feast to be invited to a dinner cooked by a Minas Gerais local! Their culinary hospitality goes beyond anything you have ever tasted!
Despite all the historical facts that are known in Brazil about these pães de queijo, and how they are so ingrained in the Brazilian fast food culture, this recipe can also be compared to the French version of cheese gougres.
It is a great option for your dinner rolls, specially if your main entrée is something lighter as sea food, for example. You can have it all ready to go, just pop them in the oven 25 minutes before you’re ready to serve them, and you will be ready to impress.
Or enjoy it with your coffee or tea, jam, cream cheese or even peanut butter on the side. It melts in your mouth, really to die for!
Also it is light enough to be used as an appetizer in which case you can make the balls a bit smaller.
If you can find sour cassava you will get the characteristic subtle tanginess of the real ones, but regular tapioca is a great substitute.
Cheesy puffs – Pão de queijo
2 dozen puffs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) tapioca flour or sour cassava flour
1 – 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese or any other cheese you like
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.
Combine milk, oil, and salt in the saucepan, and whisking occasionally, bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.
Add all of the tapioca flour to the saucepan and stir until there is no more dry tapioca flour in the bowl. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Or you can do the next few steps by hand but be ready for a work-out!). Beat the dough for a few minutes (3 or 4 min) at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds.
With the mixer on medium, beat the eggs into the dough in two additions. Wait until the first addition has been fully incorporated into the dough before adding the second. Make sure the dough is well mixed.
With the mixer still on medium, beat in the cheese until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cookie dough.
Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon measure, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the mounds an inch or two apart.
Transfer the sheet with the puffs to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the puffs have puffed, the outsides are dry, and they are just starting to color. Cool briefly and eat. Leftover puffs can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and re-crisped in a warm oven or toaster oven.
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!