Due to a comment by Cinzia on Gretchen Noelle’s site, I stumbled upon another really interesting challenge which is called “Culinary Tour 2010 – South of the Border”. Starting January 11 and for 9 weeks thereafter, 10 cuisines of the Southern neighbors of the US will be featured, beginning in Mexico and moving from there to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico. You have to prepare a dish that is either traditional or that is using the flavors typical of the destination, or follow the recipe of a published chef specializing in that cuisine. Unfortunately, I have missed half of the journey already, but I will hop on the train now and meet everybody in Colombia.
So why not combine these 2 challenges and make a Colombian bread? Ok, off to Google I went. First, I thought about making empanadas, but then the term “cheese bread” caught my eye. There are many kinds of cheese bread in Latin America and the ingredients are not exactly the same in the different countries. In Colombia, the cheese bread is known as Pan de Yuca or Pan de Queso, in Argentina, it is called Chipas, in Bolivia they call it Cuñapes and in Brasil the name is Pão de Queijo (well, this is just Portuguese for Pan de Queso).
The recipe I found uses queso fresco which is a cheese I don’t know where to buy in Germany, but then I’ve read that you can use pressed ricotta, or even grated mozzarella cheese instead. Of course, this won’t be really authentic then. The other ingredients weren’t too complicated: tapioca starch (I still have some leftover tapioca starch from January’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge), baking powder, eggs and sugar.
Recipe (adapted from My Colombian Recipes):
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 2 cups queso fresco (I used grated mozzarella cheese)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Combine the tapioca starch, cheese, sugar and baking powder. Add the eggs and purée the mixture with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
- Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and shape into balls.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the balls on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden on top.
- Serve warm.
I didn’t expect the rolls to grow that much in the oven, so next time I have to leave more room between them on the baking sheet. At first, I thought the taste was a little bland, lacking some salt. But then I remembered having read that Pan de Yuca is traditionally served with a cup of hot chocolate, so I did that and was pleasantly surprised. The cheese rolls matched really well with the hot chocolate. Thin crust, cheesy and moist crumb, complemented by the sweetness of the hot chocolate – YUM!