Cheese puffs. Until recently hearing this would have conjured up memories of childhood trips to the beach, always complete with a bag of Cheetos (among more heathy snacks like fresh fruit and tuna sandwiches). But recently I discovered that real cheese puffs-- homemade cheese puffs-- not only exist, but are easy to make and delicious too.
I found this recipe for Spanish cheese puffs in one of my go-to Spanish cookbooks, Delicioso! Regional Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas. Nearly 20 years old (first published in 1996) I love Casas' interpretation of Spain and Spanish cuisine during that time. I'd never encountered a Spanish recipe for cheese puffs before, but reading the ingredients I was convinced that Penelope knew what she was talking about.
A winning combination of creamy tetilla cheese, toasted sesame seeds, and sweet honey makes these easy snacks irresistible. It's the perfect tapa to make in advance and fry up at the last minute, I recommend you make extra because they disappear quickly!
Homemade Cheese Puffs with Sesame Seeds and Honey
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds for toasting
- Additional sesame seeds for coating
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- 2 eggs separated
- 3 ounces creamy cows milk cheese like tetilla if you can get it, grated
- ¼ cup grated cured Manchego cheese sub Parmesan if necessary
- Olive oil for frying
- Honey for coating
- First, preheat your oven to 350°F and spread the 2 T of sesame seeds on a foil lined cookie sheet. Lightly toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant (about 5-7 minutes).
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, and salt together.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks just form (don't let them get dry).
- Stir in the cheeses, egg yolks, toasted sesame seeds, and blended flour mixture.
- Drop the batter by the spoonful onto a foil lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil until very hot (but not smoking). Test the temperature with a small piece of bread if you have one handy. It should quickly brown (but not burn).
- Roll each cheese puff in the raw sesame seeds and then deep fry until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes).
- Rest of paper towels for about one minute to absorb excess oil. Then place on a serving dish and drizzle honey on top until soaked through.
- Serve immediately.
What do you think? Will you give these Spanish style homemade cheese puffs a try?