These little cheese rolls are officially called pao de queijo, but I first discovered them in a small shop in the city, where they were known as paolitos, so that’s what I call ’em. These little things are amazing–really tasty and filling and of course, entirely gluten free, without any fussing with recipes or ten kinds of flour or xanthan gum (I hate xanthan gum.) And they’re versatile: the same basic dough can be used for little snack sized bites, giant rolls to be cut open for sandwiches, it would even be excellent as a pizza dough.
Pao de Queijo
1/2c butter or margarine
2c packed tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
2 large or 3 medium eggs, beaten
2c parmesan or other hard cheese
Heat milk, butter and salt over medium heat, until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the tapioca flour. Allow to cool completely. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
Once cool, turn oven on to 400F. Transfer dough to a bowl and knead in eggs a little bit at a time until dough is free of lumps. Add cheese and knead again until smooth. Knead tablespoon sized clumps of dough into spheres and place them on the baking sheets, well spaced apart. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. The insides may still seem a little doughy or gooey while warm.
Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a plate or cooling rack; if the rolls cool while sitting on the oiled pans they will absorb the oil and lose the crispness at the bottom.
(I ate mine with some dal bukhara for dinner–it was quite fantastic.)