cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pão de Queijo

I post to mon ami - we see myriad Milous
As far as dedications run, they have a sticky reputation of reservation for the recently departed. But I don't cook for the dead. This is for someone alive; two arms, two legs, two blurry eyes, breaths air, drinks water. A real person. So surprise buddy! This post is for you. So I regret for the others if there is something you do not understand, chances are I don't either, so tant pis, as we would say. Well, perhaps the next one will be for you. Now here is your story to go along with the tapioca flour cheese balls that we'll pretend you ate.

Your typical weekend in Paris does indeed include French wine and marzipan at an Irish pub, street carnivals with children parading in guise of the cast from Tintin, science fairs, musical lessons, hippy funk music concerts, and of course above all others, saturday evening baking with friends, well rather saturday evening baking while friends are in the room. What, you ask, is being baked saturday evening while friends are in the room? why, pão de queijo that's what. A rather common and easily found confection of all corner pâtisseries--in Brazil. Snap. Call it near a croissant, Madeleine, or tuille in simplicity and popularity, but better. It's gluten-free. Tapioca. Tapioca tapioca tapioca. And cheese. Yes, cheese.

You like tapioca? D asked at the Easter brunch (see Easter post) You should buy these: pão de queijo. Oh, alright, I responded, as I was under the impression it was a form of cheese. What is this thing? I later asked my judicious sage - - - That? That? It's Only the 10th world wonder! Yeah? Yeah! It's our national biscuit! Tapioca flour, and cheese. Tapioca flour and cheese? Sounds like a mallory biscuit to me. I wonder why he would tell me to buy one here, i would ask him now but it may be rude to wake him at 2:30 to discuss brazilian biscuits. True. But promise me you'll make these! Now! They are shuétão! Of course I promise to make these, is that Portuguese for chouette? Nope. It's not a real word, it's my word. - - - You see, I keep my promises. shuétão!

(More dialog, this is a very chatty post) D, we're going to make those tapioca things you told me to buy, call Tartar. We'll split up the ingredient list and rendez-vous chez toi. Ok, I accuired all of the things you asked of me, and I found some extra sugar, just in case. What are you making with sugar? The tapioca. What tapioca are you making? What? We're making cheese biscuits, i'm not sure i want sugar in my cheese biscuits. We are? I buy those frozen and then bake them. Frozen? Paaaa-leeeaase. What did you think I wanted to bake for? I've never made those before! And I bought sweet tapioca starch, not salty! Oh bother. Pas grave pas grave! Salty-sweet. This is a Salty Cod-Mallory-Brazilian-National-Biscuit anyways, so hand me my spoon.

D's apartment (with the Eiffel Tower right out the bloody window) is a much more welcoming cooking ambiance than the subterranean yellow-tiled grotto of hell that is the Foyer Mignard kitchen, while the stove was yet the size of a small radio, it was much more reliable. While Tartar supped hummus and Advil (previous rough night you see. hehe. but with love), D piddled his guitar, and I rolled little tapioca biscuits thinking about how funny life is, and how one chance book, one chance encounter, one chance click, one chance fish, one chance anything can set your life off in a complete unexpected direction. Well, ---I suggest you bake all of the biscuits together or in two batches, as if you let them rest too long they will rise before your very eyes and puff up like little marshmallows, and sprinkle with salt before you put them in the oven, unless you have in mind to egg wash 50 little cheese biscuits. tee hee.

Pão de Queijo--Cheese biscuits:
1 cup water. 1 cup milk. 0.5 cup oil. 500 grams tapioca starch (sweet, is mine). 200 grams parmesan cheese (le conseil de maman). 2 eggs. Salt.
In sauce pan bring water, milk, salt, and oil to a boil. Remove, let cool slightly, add tapioca. Combine well, and let cool. Transfer dough to a bowl, add eggs and kneed well. Add more flour if necessary. Add Parmesan, and kneed until smooth. Line a tray with foil, and preheat oven to 200 C. Coat hands in oil, roll out small balls, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 20
minutes. *bake extra 5 minutes if you want them firmer on the inside.

1 xícara de água. 1 xícara de leite. 1 1/2 xícara de óleo. Sal. 500 grams de polvilho.2 ovos. 200 grams de queijo parmesão. shuétão!

They are supposed to be slightly gooyey on the inside, so I was reassured. I'm not going to brag, but they were bloody delicious, I'm in love! Do try it with honey though, cheese and honey you say? Well, naturally. So dear friend I have made them, and they were devoured. After we took turns proffering each other our favoirte funnies on youtube---can you see what they are watching?---later we made a rendez-vous with a friend of D, known as P, also a Brazilian, to whom I offered a pão de Queijo and was assured that that, was it.

So the day started in Tintin land (is that Belgium?), and somehow yet again ended in Brasil, but with strange 60's hippy funk music that was slightly terrifying. My little Milou devil, and of course my little brazil biscuits made for a beautiful, typical day in my Paris. É só vale enquanto a escrever sobre as coisas importantes, o meu amigo. Você deve saber o quanto eu agradeça-lhe por ter sido o meu melhor amigo através de tudo. A vida é engraçada. E estes são biscoitos para você!

If you come buy this biscuit at the salty cod this is what the sign will say, my first learned phrase in Portuguese: Agradecemos a preferência - - thank you for choosing us.

A bientôt


Núria said...

He, he, lovely "bollitos" that's the word I would use for your Pao de Queijo.
Why cheese is in every single recipe? Am I the only one not standing cheese? I guess so... I have to teach my palate to like it... I'm loosing all these great dishes on the way!
Great post and great story, Mallory :D

Sylvia said...

Tres chic este post em tres idiomas.

Your pao de queijo looks delicious and like pao de queijo that i ate in Sao Paulo, I relly miss the taste , because there I usually made with fresh cheese

Henrique said...

Your pão de queijo needs some honey! :P

Mallory Elise said...

well busy bee next time you help make it and we'll be sure to work in the honey.

Honey--and not sand paper, hammers, or a nice deck stain. no Parmesan picket fences.