I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, my culinary heritage is vast and rich. I’ll never run out of things to eat. It’s a great situation to be in, even if it means knowing that when you eat one delicious thing, you could also be eating something else delicious instead. Ah, the possibilities! (Of course, during lent, it’s a different thing all together, hehehe.)
Either way, one of the traditions that I absolutely adore from both cultures that I come from is the sitting down for tea and coffee in the afternoon, preferably with guests, and chatting the day away until it is time to leave or have dinner. Yeah, sitting down for tea and cake is probably one of the more popular things to do in many cultures (and I feel we are losing it amid all the stress and obsession over our health and well-being). The things we eat during these occasions may vary in their look and their feel, but the ingredients often remain the same across cultures and continents.
For example, you can do a lot of great things out of something simple (and cheap!) as flour, baking powder, eggs, a piece of butter and cheese. The Brits make scones, Germans may make crackers and the French bake up a quiche. Well, Bolivians make Cheese Roll, known as Rollo de Queso. It’s a very fluffy, light dough with cheese in the middle. Of course, I had to go and create a gluten-free version, because while it is definitely wonderful to eat scones and quiche, some days I just need Rollo de Queso. I warn you though: this stuff is addictive. Plus, they must be eaten the day they are prepared (they tend to dry out overnight) or frozen once cooled. This recipe renders two rolls. That’s one for now and one for later, eh? Oh, and you can vary the taste of the Cheese roll depending on the cheese that you use. I think older gouda works wonderfully, but adding cheddar or mozzarella is also delicious!
One word of advice: Gluten-free dough tends to be a bit of a diva, especially with all the finicky tasks such as rolling it out thinly. But there is no reason to fret and to be scared of replicating this recipe in your own home. You can either use a silicone baking mat or plastic wrap (both sprinkled with cornstarch) and place the dough between two ends. Then proceed to roll out with a rolling pin as you would glutinous dough. It’s really easy and I’m sure anyone can do it! Plus, using a silicone baking mat or plastic wrap means that you have a little helper when folding your construction into a roll. Enjoy!
Gluten-free Bolivian Cheese Roll (Rollo de Queso Boliviano sin gluten)
two cups of gluten-free flour mix (I used one part Schaer Farine, one part corn starch and one part Bob’s Red Mill universal gluten-free flour mix)
3 tsp gluten-free agents (xanthan and guar gum, arrowroot and carob flours – and physillum husk)
1 tsp salt
3 tsp gluten-free baking powder
2 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk (you can also substitute part of it with whipping cream if you want a fluffier result and a more wholesome, smooth texture and look)
3 whole (medium) eggs (at room temperature)
Two tablespoons corn starch (for sprinkling the silicone baking mat)
For the filling:
250g grated cheese (e.g. old gouda, cheddar, firm mozzarella)
½ cup of water
1 egg yolk
4 tbsp whipping cream
Heat your oven to 220°C. Line two baking tins with baking parchment.
Combine the gluten-free flour mix, the gluten-free agents, the baking powder, the salt and the sugar in a bowl. Stir using a whisk until all ingredients have been combined well. Add the butter and the three whole eggs as well as the milk (and whipping cream if you have substituted part of the milk with it). Knead into a lumpless and smooth dough.
Divide the dough in two parts. Sprinkle a silicone baking mat or a long piece of plastic wrap with cornstarch. Place one piece of dough between two ends and roll out with a rolling pin, until the dough is about half a centimeter thick.
Evenly distribute half of the cheese filling on top of your dough (e.g. with a fork). Pick up on one of the long ends and fold into a roll. Try to make it as thin as possible. Transfer your cheese roll onto one of the baking tins.
Repeat process with the second batch of dough.
Cover your hands generously in tap water and proceed to rub the outside of your cheese roll until all of it is wet and shiny (this helps create a more even, pettier look later).
Then, combine the egg yolk and the cream in a cup and gently distribute the lumpless liquid on your cheese rolls using a brush (I just ended up using part of the egg yolk and cream by the way). If you want, you can distribute a few sprinkles of paprika on your cheese roll prior to baking.
Place your baking tins into the oven and bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until golden brown and done. Yes, your cheese roll may crack here and there, but it can lead to beautiful results, right?