I've been craving and wanting to make Bolinho de Estudante, a popular sweet treat found in the streets of my native Bahia, Brazil. It’s a tapioca and coconut dumpling, deep fried till golden brown and rolled in cinnamon sugar. It’s got a slighty crispy, golden crust on the outside, and a gooey, white/translucent center. Bolinho de Estudante literally translates to "Student's Cake". It got its name because it’s really cheap to make, as well as to buy. These little dumplings are found in every Bahiana stands in Salvador.
The tapioca sold here in Seattle, is quite different from the tapioca we have in Brazil. The Brazilian one is flakier, whereas here it comes in form of tiny white pearls. This difference really messes up the consistency and texture of the original Bolinho de Estudante recipes from Brazil. I tried to make a couple batches, trying to follow my mom’s and grandma’s old recipes, but they just didn’t turn up. The crust was super crunchy and hard, and the inside wasn’t as moist and ooey-gooey and I remembered it to be. My mission was to try to make the perfect Bolinho de Estudante, using the tapioca pearls.
I kept the staple ingredients in tact: coconut milk, water, tapioca, sugar and salt. But, when boiling my coconut milk and water, I threw in a couple of cloves and a cinnamon stick for a little more depth. Most recipes tell you to soak the tapioca for about ten minutes, however if you are using the tapioca pearls you will need to soak the tapioca overnight - which is what I did.
I rolled my tapioca dough into little balls and fried them until they were golden brown. Right after deep frying them, I rolled them in cinnamon-sugar.
To compliment my little dumplings, I made a quick muddled raspberry sauce.
Muddled Raspberry Sauce
1 half-pint fresh raspberry
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp water
In a bowl, muddle raspberry and sugar. Add water and stir.