Pan dulce translates as "sweet bread," and in Mexico, you can find hundreds of variations to satisfy nearly any taste preference, from vanilla-, chocolate-, or cinnamon-flavored to cream-, fruit-, or nut-filled. This recipe for a basic pan dulce results in buns perfect for a sweet snack or light dessert; they taste best the day you bake them, but you can tightly wrap and freeze any leftovers.
- For Dough:
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon or 1 package dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 eggs (at room temperature, beaten)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- For Topping:
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Optional: food coloring
- Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast into lukewarm water. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Cream the shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, the salt, and the yeast water to the bowl, mixing to combine. Add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape each into a ball. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet with plenty of space in between each one. Press each ball slightly to flatten it. Let the dough balls rise for another hour.
- During the second rise, mix all of the topping ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add a few drops of optional food coloring if desired.
- Use your hands to divide the topping into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball in your palms, then use a rolling pin to flatten each one out on a floured surface to about 5 inches in diameter or until it can cover one of the risen buns. Lightly press each topping disc onto an unbaked bun and use a knife to cut a pattern into the topping layer, without cutting into the dough.
- Bake the buns at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until they turn lightly golden. Cool the buns on a wire rack before serving.
You can vary the look of your pan dulce with different topping designs. Keep it simple with a few lines etched into the top, or elaborate with a criss-cross or other pattern. Left alone, the topping produces its own cracks, another interesting visual result.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||10 g|
|Saturated Fat||3 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||4 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g|