Brazilian Cheese Puffs (also known as Pão de Queijo) I wanted to make up a bread to accompany an oily, deep and sumptuous Italian Inspired Seafood Stew: Italian Inspired Seafood Stew
Back to the bread ...
The Brazilian recipe uses cassava flour, milk, eggs and butter, and Paul's article then mixes in some parmesan cheese for the cheesy tang.
I made a more Italian twist on these ingredients ...
Cassava flour, eggs and using olive oil rather than butter, soured cream instead of milk to boost the sourness of the flour, and pecorino cheese rather than parmesan, these bread balls came out crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside with a wonderful sour tang from the cassava flour, cream and cheese - perfect for offsetting the oiliness in the main dish.
I have made them up again since using potato flour, yoghurt and cheddar cheese - perfect accompaniment for deep, luscious meat stews where dumplings would conventionally accompany.
I have also tried a little baking powder in, which produces a much lighter, fluffier ball.
Next, I will experiment with beef suet for the fat content, aromatic herbs and hopefully make up a paleo+ dumpling.
So, the method ...
I'm not at all good at following recipes. I read recipes, understand the principles and then deviate wildly when the ingredients are in front of me.
Take a cup of flour and place into a mixing bowl.
Crack in one egg - free range, outdoor reared, woodland chicks; just get the best eggs you can from birds which are reared as naturally as they can be.
Roughly mix together by hand.
The mix will be too dry. Add in small amounts of milk, yoghurt, soured cream, whatever your preference until a good dough is formed.
Add in a little salt if you like, but it is not necessary with most cheese.
Grate some cheese - Parmesan, Pecorino, Manchego, Cheddar, whatever your preference and roll into the dough.
Gently kneed the dough a few times to ensure the ingredients are well distributed and set about hand rolling balls of the dough just smaller than a golf ball.
Place the balls onto a very lightly greased oven-proof plate and bake in a pre-heated over set to 200C for 20-30 minutes until the colour changes to a pleasant brown and the outsides are hard.
Break one open - if it's still too doughy, just return to the oven.