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Brazilian cheese puffs: pão de queijo

I adapted this from Simply Recipes. I didn’t use a mini-muffin pan since I don’t have one, and I increased the amount of cheese. As Elise Bauer points out, the resulting cheese bread puffs are like crispy mochi popovers. Or, alternatively, like a South American version of gougères.

Brazilian cheese puffs

Warning! It was much easier for me to use metric measurements for the tapioca flour and cheese because of the increased granularity. Why? To fine tune for cheese tolerance, i.e., to see how much cheese I could add without affecting the amount of rising. I found that 100 grams or more of cheese resulted in much less rise; sure, the buns still had nice air pockets and tasted good, but they were not as airy. It seems like 85 grams is the current maximum to use.

Note about cheese: I have used fresh goat cheese (great with thyme), and a mix of a soft cheese plus Parmesan. In the future I’d like to try out cheddar, gouda, gruyère… Also, substituting some of the oil with garlic oil is particularly tasty. :)

Ingredients

  • 170 grams (6 ounces) tapioca flour, a.k.a., manioc
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) queso fresco, or other cheese, shredded or crumbled
  • (optional) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon herbs, like thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk; I used whole milk
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil; alternatively, optionally use some flavored oil like garlic oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF degrees; I used the “convection baking” setting.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin or cupcake pan with paper cups—instead of greasing since I have an abundance of the paper liner cups. Reusable silicone cups also work, although the rise seems a bit more limited (more slippery?).
  3. Place all ingredients into a food processor (or blender, but I don’t have one, so processor it was). Process until smooth; scrape the bottom of the container to loosen any unmixed flour.
  4. Pour batter in a jug with a pouring lip (or not, if you’re not clumsy like moi).
  5. Pour batter into each cup, roughly half to two-thirds full.
  6. Bake until lightly browned and super-puffed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Wait until cool enough to touch before consuming. The advantage of using the silicone cups is the ease of removing the puffs. Even though my paper cups are lined with silicone (or wax?), they more or less got stuck if I let them sit longer than 10 or so minutes.
  8. You can freeze baked leftovers, if you’re lucky to have any. Remove the silicone cups before freezing; try to remove the paper cups, but you might tear the breads, so best to leave them on until serving. Reheat in a toaster oven, or even a microwave, at a low setting.

2 comments

  1. Morrisa Sherman wrote:

    This recipe is genius. I made these for Thanksgivannukah! I had two wheat-free eaters and a total of 18 guests, and my 34 cheesy poofs went away entirely. The wheat-free girls felt honored and spoiled that I’d made them something so good, and everyone else just thought they were good. I added a bulb of fresh garlic squeezed through a garlic press and used shredded mozzarella.

    Thursday, 28 November 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  2. sairuh wrote:

    Aww, shucks, and thanks, Morrisita! I’m really happy this recipe worked well for you and your guests.

    Friday, 29 November 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

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