I don't go to Brazilian restaurants that often, but when I do the thing that sticks in mind the most, beyond the sheer quantities of meat, is the cheese bread. Pão de queijo are little pillows of heaven replete with cheese in every bite. During an afternoon of watching football a few weeks ago (because yes, that is something I occasionally do now that I know food is involved), we ordered some Brazilian food from a place by our friends' apartment actually called Pão de Queijo. Naturally, we had to order some of the cheese bread. I hadn't been able to stop thinking about it, so I started wondering how difficult it would be to make my own. Luckily, there is the Internet. After sifting through a few recipes, I discovered this is actually one of the easiest things to make. There's even a blender version that tastes perfectly fine! Better still, it can be made almost entirely with ingredients you already have. The exception, which is in fact the secret ingredient of Brazilian cheese bread: tapioca flour. You can also use sour cassava flour. I believe that's more authentic, but it's also harder to find (at least around here).
|Obviously, this is not my photo. Those are not my hands. And I did not make that particular cheese bread. It is a reasonable facsimile though.|
Then this is all you need to do:
1) Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a mini muffin pan.
2) Put the following in a blender: 1 egg, 1/3 c olive oil, 2/3 c milk, 1 1/2 c tapioca flour, 1/2 cheese (I used parm, but I think any would work), and 1 tsp salt. Pulse until mixed.
3) Pour into the mini muffin cups (should make about 2 dozen). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!
That's seriously all you have to do. They turn out a little like popovers or gougeres--crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Instead of popovers being empty in the middle though, the center is a very moist and spongey texture. The tapioca flour makes a stretchy, chewy interior that is exactly like the pão de queijo I know and love from Brazilian restaurants. I'm actually a little concerned with the ease at which these can be made. I have a feeling this will be something of an obsession until my tapioca flour supplies run out.