I have World Cup fever. It’s been a slowly increasing level of excitement, but last week, hubby and I, along with some friends, attended the Ivory Coast vs. El Salvador friendly game, and that kicked me full-on into World Cup mode. It’s always thrilling, seeing so many people from all over the world, united for the love of a game.
So to help celebrate, I thought perhaps I would make a recipe native to Brazil, to honor the host country. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, but I have made Moqueca (which is really a treat!), and I’ve even tried my hand at Brigadeiros. But I thought I’d try something new.
By some miracle, I’ve never tried Pão de queijo. It was simple to make, and boy, was it a hit. Our twin nieces were staying over at our house when I whipped these up, and they gobbled up piece after piece. I had a few myself. They’d be delicious served alongside any stew (or the Moqueca), or even as a breakfast treat. They’re naturally gluten-free, so that makes them a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I definitely think these will be made again – likely when I have family over to help me eat them all.
Until then, if you need me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the first World Cup game this coming Thursday, and of course, the first United States game the following Monday against Ghana.
Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) gluten-free
1 c whole milk
1/2 c butter
1 t kosher salt
2 c tapioca flour/starch
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c cow’s milk feta, crumbled finely
3/4 c Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set the racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as it comes to a boil.
Add all of the tapioca flour to the milk mixture and stir until you see no more dry flour. The dough will be really gelatinous.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it is smoothed out and cool enough to handle.
With the mixer on medium, add the eggs in two additions, waiting until the first addition is fully incorporated before adding the second. Then add in the cheese until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very sticky, stretchy, and soft.
Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop rounded portions into mounds on the lined baking sheets. Space them an inch or two apart.
Place them in the oven on the racks and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for about 12 minutes and rotate the baking sheets, placing the upper one on the lower rack, and vice versa. Bake for another 12-15 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle, and eat. They are delicious hot, but they also remain chewy and tasty even as they cool.
You can store them in an airtight container for several days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.
Makes about 3 dozen.