Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Puffs (Pao de Queijo)

Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Puffs

Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Puffs (Pao de Queijo)

4 tablespoons Canola oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons water
1 2/3 cup tapioca flour          
1 large egg, beaten
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese, more for topping

Preheat  oven to 450F.  Lightly spray a baking dish.

In the microwave or in a small pot on the stove-top, combine oil, salt, and water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and transfer to a food processor. Slowly add the tapioca flour, and pulse several times until it becomes a stiff dough. Cool slightly.
Gluten-Free dough - Using Tapioca Flour and Greek Yogurt

Add to the food processor, the egg, yogurt, and cheese, and mix well until dough is softer. Lightly coat your hands with oil and form dough into 12-16 small balls. Spinkle some extra cheese on each puff and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Lower the temperature to 350F, and bake until balls are puffy and golden, about 18-20 minutes, depending on the size of the dough.  
Pao De Quejo - Baked until golden
A few years ago, I tasted for the first time, Pão de Queijo, a traditional and delicious Brazilian treat, a tiny cheesy puff morsel from heaven.  From that first taste on, I was hooked.  My sister-in-law, who is Brazilian, brought these delicious treats to every family party. When I received the recipe, I made them and was discouraged by a lumpy dough outcome. I recently was asked to make these treats for my Brazilian cooking class, so I decided to use my culinary instinct and test the recipe using a food processor. The result was a soft and silky dough without the manual labor. 
My adaptation from the traditional recipe is using Greek yogurt instead of milk, Romano cheese instead of Parmesan cheese, and a food processor instead of mixing my hand.  Now that I have the technique down, there’s endless opportunity for variations for this recipe  Using a strong dry cheese is important, because these treats take on the flavor of whatever is added to the dough. Once baked, the dough is slightly gooey inside, with a burst of cheesy goodness flavor. 

Here are some variations:
Finely chopped rosemary or thyme
Finely grated gruyere cheese or extra sharp cheddar

Tip: These tasty cheesy treats can be baked on a baking sheet about an inch apart, or in a mini-muffin pan.  Be sure to lightly spray either pan.  

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