In 2005 I visited Brazil for the first time.
I was in Sao Paulo for work and I arrived a morning, very early.
In the afternoon, with a French colleague, we went for a walk in the city center.
Fortunately, a Brazilian fellow came with us and made us discover the beautiful corners of this huge metropolis.
By mid-afternoon we stopped for a coffee in a small cafe inside a mall and our colleague ordered something to eat.
I never thought that I would be enchanted by those yellow and soft balls.
The pão de queijo is like this: you fall in love with it right away and you do not forget it anymore.
Their golden color, their soft texture and their fragrant smell of cheese completely conquered me. At breakfast, during coffee breaks and also with an aperitif I cannot avoid to eat them.
Pão de queijo is always served hot or warm and this is the thing that makes it fabulous: the cheese mixed with the flour makes the bread slightly chewy, but with a pleasant rubbery.
Eaten cold, however, it loses its charm. Same thing if the bread is overcooked.
In short, the point of cooking is just what makes those small loaves just golden and soft.
When I came back to Brazil in February 2012, I really wanted to eat it again.
The first day I arrived I made a side trip to a supermarket next to the hotel and I shopped to prepare a little drink in the room.
Among other things I also bought the famous pão de queijo.
An unexpected flavor reminiscent of Brazil every time you re-taste it!
Oh yes , I admit it : after last time in Brasil, sometimes I try to do it at home too!
The first few times I made it from a mixture that I purchased in Brazil, but when I finished the pack I surfed the web and found a receipt.
I do not pretend to do so well as the one purchased fresh in bakeries or in local cafes, but the saudade of this delicacy makes me appreciate it even the “home made” .
Want to try the recipe? That’s how I do it:
250 gr of sweet manioc starch
250 gr of sour cassava starch
250 ml of milk
125 ml of water
150 gr of gruyere or parmesan cheese
125 ml of corn oil
1 teaspoon salt
Boil the water , oil and milk with salt.
Put the starches in a large bowl and pour boiling liquid and stir the mixture
As soon as it gets less warm add eggs and cheese and then transfer the mixture on a pastry
After mixing the compound cut small pieces with your hands and form little balls
Place the balls slightly apart on baking tray covered with baking paper
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown (the inside should be soft )