Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo is legend in Brazil. The mere mention of them evokes images of a good smelling kitchen, or a grandmother rolling the dough and serving to their grandchildren. Pão de Queijo is addicting, and nobody can eat just one.

A golf-sized little roll that is chewy, cheese, steamy, and almost succulent, Pão de queijo is the result of yucca alchemy.

It’s the national snack. With a cafezinho (small coffee) on a side in the middle of the afternoon this is one of the most traditional habits.

But when it comes to making them, the sad truth is that many people, especially Brazilians, don’t. Why? Why are so many tropical souls intimidated by a little piece of cheese roll? The main reason is that Pão de Queijo is very easy to buy frozen. But so are chocolate chip cookies! That doesn’t stop millions of Americans to head into their kitchens with a good cookbook on a side and prepare batches and batches of the American classic while they still might have a bucket of Nestle Toll House dough in their fridge, which they use as well.

It also doesn’t stop magazines and cookbooks to continue publishing new versions of it repeatedly, stimulating the former action. So, let’s take it from the beginning and make it from scratch, shall we?

Pão de Queijo
Photos on this post by Rodolfo Sanches

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Makes 35

 

3½ cups (630g) povilho azedo

1 cup (250ml) water

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

1 cup oil

3 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs

227 g Parmesan, finely grated

Freshly ground nutmeg

Few twists of freshly ground pepper

 

  1. Place the manioc starch in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.
  2. Place the water, milk, oil, and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the hot liquid mixture in one stroke into the starch and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and starch is all incorporated, about 2 minutes. Pause the machine and add the eggs. Continue to paddle at low speed until the dough develops structure and turns pale yellow about 5 minutes. The dough will feel sticky.
  3. Add the cheese and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Season to taste with nutmeg, cayenne, and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Wet your hands with olive oil (alternatively, you can flour your hands with manioc starch) and use an ice cream scooper to make 1-inch balls, rolling them with your hands. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1½ to 2 inches between each (you can freeze them at this point by storing them in a zip-lock bag for up to 3 months).
  8. Bake the cheese rolls in the oven until they puff up and look lightly golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the pan once during baking time.
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a nice cloth. Serve immediately while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.

 

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Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Caipirinha
Photo by Hollie Bertram

 

Refreshing, cool, sweet, and relaxing, Caipirinha is Brazil. And if Caipirinha is Brazil, then cachaça is our national shrine.

In the US, cachaça is also called Brazilian rum and the distillation process is quite similar indeed. The difference between them is that rum is distilled from molasses (which also comes from sugar cane) while cachaça is distilled from the fresh juices of sugar cane. Good cachaça has an intense aroma and flavor of fresh sugar cane. Essentially, caipirinha is a simple cocktail based on a mixture of mashed lime with sugar, ice and cachaça.

 

Caipirinha

Makes 1 drink

2 limes

1 tablespoon sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons cachaça (adjust amount to taste)

Ice cubes

  1. Cut the two ends of the lime and cut lime into medium chunk wedges.
  2. Using a muddler, mash the lime with sugar, making sure to squeeze all the juices and to dissolve the sugar in the juice.
  3. Transfer the lime mixture to a shaker. Add the cachaca and ice cubes. Shake well (about 8 to10 times) and pour into a large (but not tall) sturdy glass.

 

 

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Leticia

Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

What’s better than caramelized onions? Oven Roasted Onions, caramelized with chicken stock, heavy cream and rosemary!

Inspired by an old recipe I pulled from the pages of Saveur Magazine more than 15 years ago, this recipe became a classic in my repertoire. I make this with my eyes closed. And after your first time, you will too. It’s so easy and so delicious, you’ll be cooking again and again!

 

Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

6 large yellow onions, skin on

2 cups beef stock (or chicken)

3 tablespoon extra -virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 rosemary sprigs

½ cup heavy cream

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F. Cut about 1/4-inch off the bottoms and tops of the onions so that they can sit upright when cut in half. Next, slice the onions in half horizontally. Arrange them cut side up in a large baking dish (enough to fit all of the onions).
  • Pour the beef stock over and around the onions, drizzle olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter rosemary over the onions and into the stock in the baking dish.
  • Roast in the oven, basting often with the stock, until the onions are soft when pierced with the tip of a pairing-knife, and the stock has been reduced but not completely dried out. This should take about 1 hour.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cream over the onions. Return the dish to the oven, and roast again, until pan juices have thickened slightly, and the tops of the onions have browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Dulce de Leche and Coconut Roulade

rocambole

Dulce de Leche is present in all of cuisines of Latin America. From Chile to Venezuela, Argentina to Brazil. In fact, there is an unofficial rivalry between who invented dulce de leche: Argentineans from the region of La Paila claim the glory, and we Brazilians, also fight for the title. It is true, especially to the state of Minas Gerais, in the heart of Brazil’s dairy country. As I am from Rio, I never paid that much attention. Perhaps, this kind of competition matters very little to most cooks—myself included—as it is what you can do with dulce de leche that matters most. Like this Roulade! Indulge!

Serves 6 to 8

For the Cake:

5 eggs, separated

Pinch salt

¾ cup (105g) flour, sifted

½ cup + 1 tablespoon (125g) sugar

 

To Soak the Cake:

1 cup coconut milk, heated and cooled (to soak the cake)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Filling:

2 cups (600g) store bought dulce de letche

½ cup (40g) unsweetened grated coconut

 

For the Glaze:

½ cup heavy cream

5.3 oz (150g) (about ½ cup) dulce de leche

 

Equipment: 12X18X1 inch sheet cake pan greased with butter, lined with parchment paper and greased again (do not let the paper go up the sides of the pan). Have a clean kitchen towel and sugar handy.

 

  • Prepare the Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of salt and start beating until the whites start to foam and rise. Gradually add the sugar and beat until they become a firm meringue reaching soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
  • In another bowl, lightly whisk the yolks together. Gently scoop one third of the meringue and fold with the yolks. Now scrape the lightened yolks onto the meringue, and fold everything together using a large rubber spatula. Mix in the flour, and fold carefully, rubbing the sides and the bottom center of the mold, making sure there are no pockets of flour. The cake will deflate a little—that’s normal, but it should still look fluffily.
  • Pour the cake batter onto the prepared sheet pan, and spread out evenly with an off set spatula. Bake in the oven until it looks very lightly golden brown, and uniformly puffed, about 12-16 minutes. (Attention: If you over bake, even by a few minutes, the cake will dry out and become un-rollable.)
  • Meanwhile, Prepare the Coconut Milk: In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk to a low boil then let it cool completely. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest 2 minutes inside the pan while you prepare the wet towel: wet a kitchen towel completely, twist, and remove excess water. Stretch on a clean counter. Invert the cake onto the towel, remove the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. If the edges are slightly dry, trim it. Let it cool at room temperature.
  • Soak the Cake: Brush the cake with coconut milk.
  • Spread the Filling: In a bowl, mix together the dulce de leche with the coconut.
  • Using an off set spatula, spread the filling across the entire cake.
  • Roll the Cake: Using the towel to help you, gently lift and roll the cake, starting with the long side farthest from you and finish so that the seam is on the bottom. Trim the two outer sides to make a clean cut. Transfer to a rack.
  • Glaze the Cake: Put the dulce de leche in a bowl. In a medium saucepan heat the heavy cream; pour onto the dulce de leche and whisk well. Pour over the rolled cake and carefully transfer to a rectangular plate. Serve at room temperature.

rocambole

 

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