Cassava Cheese Biscuits, also known as Pan de Yucca, are a traditional cheese biscuit from Central America and around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. They are typically formed into crescent shapes, which goes along nicely with the idea of traditional Thanksgiving crescent rolls.
Cassava or manioc flour comes from cassava roots dried and ground into a chunky and fibrous flour or a fine starch powder that can be found in the Caribbean section of the market. You may find it under the names of manioc flour, cassava flour, or dried yucca. The recipes below are for two different types of Cassava Flour, one a chunky mix made from the dried ground tuber, and the other from the pure white starch that is soaked and separated from the fiber. As you can see from the pictures, they produce quite different results.
These biscuits are fantastic. The only problem with them is that I have to remind myself how much cheese is in them and keep from eating an entire batch when they are fresh out of the oven! These will be popular among your whole crowd, and not just the gluten-free ones!
Cassava Cheese Biscuits
1 cup yucca/cassava/manioc flour, chunky or “grosso”
12 oz. grated soft cheese, such as queso fresco or mozzarella
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Water to moisten dough as necessary
Heat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients together, adding just enough water to form into a dough.
Divide dough into 20 balls.
Roll balls and flatten, forming crescent moon shapes.
Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
The recipe below is from the box of “Yucarina” or yucca starch (although the box translates it as yucca flour) that I bought most recently from the farmer’s market. This is made by soaking and pounding the root, straining off the fiber and drying the starch. The product is much finer in texture. When we made them at a cooking class, the comment was made that they would be very good with sausage or some other type of stuffing inside them. I haven’t tested that idea out yet, but I think it would work!
Pan de Yucas Yucarina
1 leveled cup of yucca starch powder
1 round of white cheese (queso fresco), soaked to reduce salt
1 chunk of butter
1 tsp. baking powder
Knead the cheese and mix in the butter, add the egg, continue to knead, mix the baking powder and mix again, add the yucarina gradually until the dough is soft and manageable. Assemble pan de yucas in crescent shape and place in a non greased pan and place into a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and remove them after 5 minutes.
You can also assemble them in the form of bread and you’ll have a delicious cassava bread loaf.