Gluten Free Cheese Waffles

gluten free Brazilian cheese waffles

The Olympics may be over in Brazil but the spirit continues at home as we are bracing our own starting line on Monday; the return to French school, or la Rentrée.

Motivating teenage medal-potential sleepers to spring out of bed is as easy as trying to place a smaller fitted sheet on a larger mattress; it just can’t happen in the holidays. It will be an uphill struggle in the first few days of routine – unless there’s something that rekindles a particular holiday moment with a fragrance that will drive them to jump over hurdles of inside-out clothes and head to the kitchen in a matter of seconds as soon as that buzzer sounds.

Horse-drawn carriage in Paraty Brazil

Paraty, Rio de Janiero Brazil

My answer? Our favourite summer holiday breakfast last year in Brazil, when we tasted the most delicious cheese waffles at our Pasada in Paraty, a couple of hours drive from the City of Rio de Janiero.  They were such a hit each morning that I promised to try make them back home.  Lo and behold, a year has gone by already and now I wonder why I didn’t make them sooner, as they are SO easy!

The hotel (Pasada Literaria) explained the recipe was a secret but whispered it was based on the Brazilian classic cheese puff balls, Pão de Queijo. So I looked up recipes for them, including from my friend, Denise Browning of From Brazil to You.

Except I had a problem: the main ingredient is tapioca flour but could I find it?  I tried health food shops around Paris – even in Corsica this summer – and everyone met me with the same bewildered look until one assistant at La Vie Claire suggested I use rice flour.  So I played with the recipe until it tasted just as we remembered it.  Normally the ratio of tapioca flour to rice flour is 2:1 but I found on experimenting that a bit more than half of rice flour was a better consistency.  Recipes suggest using parmesan cheese but as we had an orange cheese at the hotel, I used an aged mimoulette cheese, which is like parmesan in that it’s strong and lower in fat.

This is exactly how the hotel served them: with a sprig of rosemary and an individual pot of runny honey.  I loved the rosemary so much with it that I was stuffing it into the grooves! So to make it just as tasty and quicker, I added some chopped up rosemary to the dough. You’ll see how good it is!  Add that runny honey and you’re all ready and set to go!