These soft and tasty bignè are perfect to serve with Italian salami and cold cuts for an apertivo. The perfect drink to enjoy together is Gin and Martini cocktail. These bignè are made with manioca flour, a gluten free flour that can be tricky to find in food stores. Look for it at Latin American markets. Tapioca flour lacks the slight sour, fermented flavor, but makes a fine substitute.
Every time I make them, there is no left over! Kids and adults love them!
It is convenient to freeze them on a baking tray, then store in a container in the freezer and use as needed.
This recipe belongs to my new book – Aperitivo, the Italian Happy Hour, that soon I will make a post about it.. The book is distributed in Denmark, I am open to publish it in English as well. If you know a publisher interested, please let me know. Thanks!
PARMESAN SAVORY BIGNE’
300 g (11 oz) manioca or tapioca flour
240 ml (1 cup) whole milk
120 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
120 g (about 1 heaping cup) grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (450°F) and set baking racks to middle position. Place parchment paper on two baking sheets.
2. Place the milk, oil, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.
3. Add all of the tapioca flour and stir with a wooden spoon until you see no more dry tapioca flour. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
4. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds. There may be an oily slick that is not fully incorporated.
5. With the mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs into the dough one at a time, waiting until the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Pour in the cheese on medium speed until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cookie dough. It will not be completely smooth.
7. Have a small bowl of water ready. For small puffs, scoop the dough by level teaspoon onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 4 cm (1 1/2-inch apart). Dip your scoop in water between scoops to prevent sticking.
8. Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 190°C (375°F). Bake for 15 -20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the puffs have puffed, the outsides are dry, and they are just starting to turn golden-brown on the bottoms. Cool for a few minutes and eat warm. – Paola.