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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Here yet are more of Yucatán’s pan dulce, explained

Our Mérida-born editor continues postponing his diet to bring you a basket of iconic pastries

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Pan dulce may not be health food, but it sure is delicious. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gacht

Pan dulce is a big deal in Yucatán and everyone has their favorites. No single list stands a chance of covering the wide variety of pan dulce that the region has to offer.

In our first article, we introduced readers to the wonders of several favorites including conchas, cuellitos, mantecadas, and orejas. 

This time we are back with 10 more delicious treats straight from Mérida’s best bakeries.

One of my favorite bakeries, just two blocks from my childhood home in García Ginerés. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

So get yourself a coffee, hot chocolate, or tall glass of milk, and let’s get down to business. 

Bolitas de queso come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from just a couple inches across to the size of a baseball. But regardless of their size, they are always flaky, sprinkled with sugar, and filled with cream cheese. They are extremely popular and can be found at breakfast buffets, kids’ parties, baptisms and are for sale just about everywhere.

Bolitas de queso can be sold individually, but usually come in packages of at least six. Let’s be honest, nobody eats just one. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Conitos de crema are a rolled pastry filled with cream and topped with a little sugar. The cream filling is sometimes more of a meringue but is normally a custard. The pastry itself is usually not that sweet, as the sweetness comes more from the filling.

Kids often enjoy eating conitos de crema by first sucking up the filling and then eating the pastry separately. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Saramuyos are a type of pan dulce made with wheat, eggs, and plenty of margarine. They are named after the fruit of the same name, but when I was a kid I used to call them volcanoes because I guess that is what they looked like to me. They are crunchy around the edges but much softer as you work yourself in. But the best part is the saramuyo is its sugar topped peak. 

Because they are so crunchy and a little dry, saramuyos go great with a glass of milk. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A budín resembles an English bread pudding and is usually topped with cinnamon and filled with raisins. Budín is not a favorite amongst most kids, because, unlike most pan dulce, it is not insanely sweet. But, at least in my opinion, they are delicious and have a fantasticly thick texture.

The budín does a great job of being flavorful, without being overly sweet. They are sold in squares or cut slices that sometimes make them resemble a flan: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A pastelito de guayaba is a crumbly pastry stuffed with guayaba, or guava, a paste made from the fruit of the same name. They are covered in powdered sugar and are often sold in a paper wrapper. They can be a bit hard to find, as they are not sold in most bakeries.

Candied guayaba paste is also sold as bars wrapped in plastic. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Rosca de queso de bola is a type of tort or cake topped with Edam cheese. Some recipes also mix in small amounts of the strong dutch cheese into the batter for an extra rich taste. If you have spent any time at all in Yucatán you know that Edam cheese is extremely popular here, but that is a story for another time. 

Most small bakeries sell roscas de queso de bola in pre-cut slices, but many also offer them whole. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Tutis are a traditional flaky cheese stuffed pan dulce traditional to Yucatán. The name comes from the Maya word tuut, which means filling. They are very crunchy and can be found in round or square shapes. 

Aside from referring to a pan dulce, tuti is also an old-timey word used in Yucatán to describe someone who is pretentious or stuck-up. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A triangulo is a puff pastry generously topped with white sugar. They obviously get their name from their triangular shape and can be found at just about any panadería in Yucatán.

When a triangulo is stuff with ham and cheese it is known as a ojaldra de jamón y queso. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Pastelitos de lomo are a type of small empanada-shaped puff pastry filled with minced pork. They are sometimes made to be sweet, but more savory variants can also be found. They can be nice, but don’t expect to find all that much pork inside.

I have also seen pastelitos like this filled with liver pate, but they are not nearly as common. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Trenzas are buttery pastries weaved into the shape of a trenza, or braid. They are sometimes sold topped with chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon, or sugar. 

If your trensa gets stale consider cutting it in half lengthwise and adding a slice of mild manchego cheese. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

If you missed out on last week’s article on pan dulce make sure to check it out here

Has your favorite pan dulce still not make the cut? Let us know and maybe we will include it in a future installment.

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