I made Pão de Queijo to mark the beginning of the Brazilian pre-Lenten celebration of Carnaval. Pão de queijo is a cheese bread from Brazil and many variations are popular throughout South America. Snack foods are commonplace during Carnaval when the country shuts down from the Friday to the Tuesday before Lent. Thousands of tourists arrive in Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro, to take part in the festivities. Simply Recipes offers a quick way to bake pão de queijo. Traditionally, the dough is hand-mixed and each piece is formed into a small roll. This recipe utilizes the blender to make a thin batter that is poured into mini muffin tins. The batter puffs in the oven, creating a light and airy roll with an addictive cheesy flavor.
More information on Brazilian Carnaval.
Tapioca flour is a starch ground from the cassava root. It is commonly used in Brazilian baking and is gluten free. I have been able to find it in the health/gluten-free section of the grocery store. It is also available on Amazon: Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour.
Queso Fresco (“fresh cheese” in Spanish) is a Mexican cheese made from cow milk or cow and goat milk. It is white and soft with a crumbly texture. It becomes creamy when heated, but does not melt. Queso Fresco does not keep long and is best soon after it is made. I have been able to find it at grocery stores in my area.