116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It is a rainy day in Governador Celso Ramos, Santa Catarina, Brazil. We are visiting my grandparents, who we have not seen in two years, and who have now finally met our 9-month-old daughter, their first great-granddaughter.
The kitchen of their tiny beach condo, here at “Praia de Palmas” or “Palmas Beach,” is constantly in use and rainy days are reserved for the production of what my grandmother Nair calls “rosca” a crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, snack that is best served fresh. Straight out of the oven.
This tapioca flour “bun” of sorts is very reminiscent of the famous “pao de queijo,” which was the first recipe ever shared in my Bite of Brazil column. Luckily for my husband, this rainy day delicacy is accidentally gluten and dairy free. Luckily for me, it also comes with a healthy dose of nostalgia.
The tapioca flour used in this recipe, which is derived from the cassava root, is a quintessential ingredient in every Brazilian kitchen. My grandmother specifically uses the “sour” variety, which I have yet to find in the United States, but I also have also used regular tapioca flour, easily found at any grocery store, and the roscas still come out tasting like a rainy day in Palmas.
Roscas are best consumed hot and lathered with whatever tickles your fancy on toast. Sweet: Nutella, dulce de leche, fig jam; or savory; cream cheese, butter, even avocado.
Whenever my grandmother makes these delicious snacks they disappear within minutes, the smell still wafting from the oven long after they have already been eaten by hungry grandchildren, parents, neighbors and friends alike.
Whether a rainy day at the beach or in subzero Iowa, roscas are sure to please everyone in your family.
4 cups of tapioca flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the tapioca flour and salt. Then, pour the boiling water directly on top and mix with a spoon.
Add the oil and mix.
Allow the mixture to cool and add the egg.
Add cold water slowly as you mix. It will take about one cup of water but may take more or less. The mixture should be firm and sticky but still moist.
In a non-stick pan, or on parchment paper, form the roscas to the desired size using a spoon. They will expand greatly and most likely combine in the oven. This is authentic … so don’t worry.
Put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Until the roscas are slightly browned on the outside and at least doubled in size. Do not open the oven until they reach their desired size.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve fresh with your favorite spread or as is.
Follow Alexandra Olsen on Instagram, @TheHungryGaucha.