Growing up in the countryside in Brazil was not fun in the sense that we didn’t have a bakery to go to every morning to get bread. On the other hand, it was great because my mother liked to bake. She had a rustic wood burning oven built outside the house near the kitchen in the same style that you might see at California pizza shops. She would fire up this oven once or twice a week, to bake for the crowd. The aromas that permeated the air are still vivid from my childhood memories.
One of the things I adored was the biscoito de polvilho azedo or sour manioc biscuit. This Brazilian biscuit has the consistency of profiterole shells; they’re soft, chewy, airy inside and crunchy on the outside. But whereas profiterole shells are almost flavorless, biscoito de polvilho has a salty and tasty sour flavor which I think goes well with dinner or with a good cup of black coffee or even café au lait.
I’ve forgotten my mother’s recipe but the other day I was looking at my blogger friend, Neide Rigo’s site and found one there that resembles my mother’s. Neide calls it Rosca de Polvilho, which is the name for the same dish in the southern part of Brazil.
I made it at home and it turned out fabulously.
biscoito de polvilho azedo AKA sour manioc biscuit
1 cup flavorless oil (e.g., canola, almond)
1 cup water
2 tsp kosher salt
5 to 6 cups of sour manioc flour/starch
1 cup whole cold milk
grated cheddar (optional)
Pre-heat over to 485F. Grease a couple of large baking trays and set aside.
Bring water, oil and salt to a boil. Place about 3 cups of manioc flour in a large bowl. Whisk in boiling liquid to scald the manioc flour. Mix until incorporated. Add milk and eggs then continue mixing. Add remaining flour in stages until it’s all incorporated. The dough will be ready when it stops sticking to your hands.
Shape dough into ping-pong ball size rounds and place them 2 inches apart on baking tray. Bake for about 22 minutes. The biscoitos will puff up and the bottoms will brown a bit.
Serve hot. I added grated cheddar at the top for additional savory flavor, but you can leave the cheese out.