Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Mexican-Style Pan Dulce
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I first had pan dulce at the Riviera Bakery on Ferry Street in Newark, New Jersey. When Bob and I were especially busy at work, we'd make it a point to meet for lunch and to touch base. More often than not, we'd choose Ferry Street as our meeting spot. We loved the atmosphere. It was a street of sights and sounds and smells and had an air of nostalgia and simpler times about it. Years later, we found pan dulce in the panaderias of Baja. I hasten to add our Baja adventures weren't fancy or expensive. We weren't seeking the luxury of Cabo. We had come by car to look for whales and kayak in the sea of Cortez. Almost by necessity, the sweet rolls, called pan dulce, became our breakfast of choice. We could see them being made and assure ourselves they had not been sitting around, acting as a landing pad for sundry flying critters. The rolls are remarkably versatile. They range in appearance from simple flat rolls to elaborate shell shaped conchas. They're covered with a baked topping that can be as simple as a cinnamon paste or as involved as an etched pastel. The "frosting" cracks as the rolls bake, creating craters and dimples that spread across the top of the rolls. Today's rolls are simple in form and topping. When I make these for guests, I use scallop shells to shape them and etch the topping to create a more deliberate design. The etching really isn't important as the cinnamon topping will crack anyway, it just won't be as artful. There are many recipes for pan dulce. I've settled on this one because I love the texture of the rolls it produces. Here's the recipe.
Mexican-Style Pan Dulce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tepid melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup tepid butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1) Place warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water. Set aside to soften.
2) Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl until light and combined.
3) Add yeast, tepid butter and eggs to flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Scrape dough into a greased bowl and turn to coat all surfaces.
Cover. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.
4) While dough is rising, make topping by combining flour, sugar, butter, egg, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
5) Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. It will still be sticky. Divide dough into 18 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange balls at least 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Press dough down with palm of hand to flatten.
6) Form topping into 18 balls. Flatten and place on top of shaped buns.
7) Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap or kitchen towels. Let rise until double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
8) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake rolls for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 18 buns.