After all, we know very little about Brazilian cuisine, with the exception of, without a doubt, the famous feijoada, this national dish made of beans and pork. However, samba country is full of culinary specialties, such as pão de queijo. Literally “cheese bread”, it originated in Minas Gerais, and first appeared in the 18th century, thanks to Brazilian slaves. In fact, at that time, they harvested cassava roots, and made bread by recovering the starch left after the soaking stage. Minas Gerais is also a land rich in dairy products, and soon slaves added milk and aged cheese to this cassava flour, to make their own little loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until the 1950s when pão de queijo became popular in Brazil, because it was inexpensive. Today it is a basic aperitif, just like a good old cougar.
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As accessible as it gets, Brazilian chef Alessandra Montani puts it on the menu of her restaurant “Nosso” (in Paris 13) and this time topped the caviar. The recipe she presents here, however, in a classic version, reminds her of her childhood: “I was born in Rio de Janeiro, raised on a farm with my grandparents,” she says before continuing, not a bit proud: “It’s a recipe from my grandmother! With pão de queijo One-way ticket to Rio!
Mount Pão de Queijo d’Alessandra
for 30 paos de queijo
10 tablespoons. water
5 tablespoons. Sun flower oil
400g tapioca flour
1 tbsp. good salt
1 plain yogurt
120gm grated cheese
In a saucepan, boil water and oil.
Meanwhile, shred the grated cheese.
Put the tapioca flour in a bowl. Pour water and oil over the flour, and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Add eggs, milk and cheese.
Mix everything with your hands, but without kneading too much so that the dough does not stick.
If you can, let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Roll out the dough and form small balls the size of a ping-pong ball.
Arrange it on a baking sheet set on a baking tray.
Bake for 17 minutes.