Pao de Queijo
I think I'm in love, and if you're a fan of cheese, you will be too! These puffy cheese delights are irresistibly crisp on the outside, and deliciously chewy on the inside. I've lifted this from Cabana The Cookbook again, and you'll find out why in the Tidy Tweaks section.
The key to this recipe is the flour. I couldn't find Cassava flour anywhere, apart from some toasted/roasted stuff that I didn't think was the same... I thought this was more like a topping for other dishes. David Ponte, Lizzy Barber & Jamie Barber do advise that Tapioca flour is a suitable alternative... and I did eventually manage to track some of that down (in the end, I found it in the "free from" section, as it's gluten-free!)
It's a really simple recipe, so well worth hunting down the flour!
125ml whole milk
50ml vegetable oil
1tsp sea salt
250g cassava flour (or tapioca flour)
2 lightly beaten eggs
200g grated parmesan or mature cheddar cheese
This should make around 25-30 - I halved the recipe and got 15, but could perhaps have made fewer, slightly larger, ones. I'd recommend making the full recipe, though... because I could easily have eaten all 15 to myself!
1. Add 125ml water, the milk, vegetable oil & salt in a pan, and bring it to the boil.
2. When it starts to rise up the sides of the pan, take it off the heat and quickly tip in the flour.
3. Stir vigorously until it all comes together as a wet dough. It should come away from the side of the pan. This didn't take me very long at all (though remember I was using half the quantities!)
4. Pop the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just "a" bowl, if you don't have a stand mixer) and let it cool a little.
5. Pop the oven on at 200ºC, to preheat.
6. After it's cooled a bit, add the eggs, and start mixing at a low speed (if you don't have a stand mixer, this means mix it slowly) :p
7. After a couple of minutes, increase the speed to high (or apply more elbow-grease) and beat vigorously until all the egg has been incorporated, and the dough is smooth.
8. Add the cheese and keep beating until the cheese is mixed through evenly.
9. With lightly oiled hands, roll tablespoons of the dough into balls, and place on a lined baking tray, leaving a gap of about an inch between each.
10. Chuck the baking tray in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until the pau de queijo are golden brown, and have puffed up.
11. Serve immediately - remember... crispy outside, chewy inside!
Today's is one of the most exciting (strong word) competitions we've seen. For the first time ever, we have a winner by default!
None of the big four sold ordinary cassava flour online, and Tesco were the only ones to sell tapioca flour, so their total of £10.49 bags them the win.
It should be a cheap recipe, but it seems that tapioca is something of a speciality flour, and it's being marketed towards the highly-lucrative coeliac community. At £1.75 for 110g, I can't help but feel that people with dietary needs are being exploited somewhat, but hey... at least Tesco stock it!
Even without the tapioca flour, Tesco are likely to have wonany way due to their price on eggs. Bizarrely, Tesco, Morrisons, & ASDA were all like-for-like on every other item. Sainsbury's also did well, even matching Tesco's egg price... until it came to the Parmesan, where they fell flat on their backsides and into their old familiar final place.
Just for completeness, sake here are the costings without the tapioca flour: Tesco £5.24; Asda £5.49; Morrisons £5.63; Sainsbury's £6.04
So, my main motivation for trying this recipe at this time, is that Cabana The Cookbook contains a recipe for pulled pork sliders. They use Pao de Queijo instead of buns, and after the success of last week's OMG BBQ Pulled Pork recipe (coupled with it's concurrent brioche bun disaster) I wanted to try something that I could serve that in. If I'm honest, although these puffed up well, I don't think they're big enough to be used even for sliders. My first Tidy Tweak will be to try using the same quantity of dough, but dividing it into fewer and therefore larger pieces. I'd like to aim for the size of a normal burger bun, but I'll admit now that I'm not sure of the science behind getting the cooking time and temperature right - I don't want to burn the outside, but nor do I want to leave the inside raw. Although these are supposed to be soft, chewy and even a little doughy inside, completely raw is never a good plan. I've read one article that suggests doubling your quantity should lead to adding 2/3 of your cooking time on top, but I do wonder if that time would be too long to avoid burning the crust. All ideas, hints and tips welcome! (I mean it, please comment here, on Facebook, or twitter!)
I realised after I'd made this, that I hadn't prepared the cheese properly. Well, if I'm honest, I didn't prepare it at all. I bought the stuff that looks like powder, very very finely grated, but the original calls for just grated. I think next time I may try it with mature cheddar, and less finely grated. Having said that, I still loved them!
I found the tapioca flour strange to work with, but fun. I've a feeling cassava flour would be much the same and would be keen to try other recipes. In the meantime, because it acts so differently from normal flour I don't think it's a thing you can substitute, or it would fail to be Pao de Queijo any more. You could perhaps add a few different ingredients, though, such as sun-dried tomatoes, chilli, onion, garlic, or some herbs. You'd want to be careful to accent, rather than over-power, the cheese though. I'd suggest using a Mexicana style cheese, but I'm not sure if that would be too oily for the mixture, once it started to melt. Smoked Applewood could be interesting!
You could try using different oils rather than vegetable oil - maybe an infused one, or maybe even my favourite Coconut oil!
Now - this is where the fun starts. Cabana has already highlighted the possibilities of splitting these and using them as buns for a savoury filling, but is it time to mix it up and go for something sweet? Cheese and jam is a winner, right? Or is that just in Scotland? With the cheese already in the dough, I think a little jam in the middle could potentially work here! What about sliced banana? Or peanut butter? or Both?!
They could also be nice for dipping, though you may have to watch out because of the consistency inside. Garlic butter would work while they're still hot, or maybe a caramelised onion humous. I love dipping bread in oil & balsamic so no doubt I'll try that soon, although it may well be too wet for that to work. So many options, so little time!
Kudos, once more, to David Ponte, Lizzy Barber & Jamie Barber, for Cabana The Cookbook, where I first saw the recipe.