Orejas – a Mexican Pan Dulce also commonly known as palmiers, are a sweet treat made from puff pastry, sugar and cinnamon and are common in panaderías found throughout Mexico.
This month’s version of Progressive Eats which if you follow along regularly you know by now, is a progressive meal of sorts except that instead of visiting each other’s home, we find a theme each month and take a tour through our family of blogs. This month we’re getting ready for Cinco de Mayo with a menu chock full of Mexican specialties and treats.
Cinco de Mayo always falls on the same day as The Kentucky Derby so I’ll indulge my Latin food love today and later this week I’ll be offering up a delicious Strawberry Mint Julep for you to sip on Derby Day!
I wanted to make something I had not done before I do love Mexican food but I’m no expert so it seems my previous efforts were more standard fare like these:
- An Enchilada Casserole – Definitely an Americanized version!
- My Favorite Guacamole – The thing I love most…it’s about the guacamole!
- Cilantro and Serrano Rice – A revelation. The first time I made it I ‘sampled’ so much I had to make more for a party.
- The BEST Margarita – All fresh ingredients and not kidding when I say the best!
Then I remembered a moment in time that made it clear what I must make for this event; this example of Mexican Pan Dulce, the crispy and sweet orejas. I was reminded of my sweet Aunt Maria, this is one of the treats she made that I loved the most and I was tickled that this event brought such a rush of memories.
When I was a young girl, I’m guessing around 10 years old, my mom’s brother who was a photographer, went to Mexico for an assignment with a magazine. It was expected that he would be gone for a couple of months. He was single and it seemed like the perfect job for a guy without any strings attached.
When my Uncle Bill returned from Mexico he had found those strings for sure; he brought back with him my Aunt Maria and her daughter Esmerelda! He had been there long enough to find love and get married and we loved them both. They had four more of their own kids eventually and a rambunctious household like ours; both families together were ten kids strong, but we visited often and I loved being with Maria in the kitchen; she was feisty and fun.
My Uncle Bill did have one family member before he left, a parakeet named Toby who hung out in the kitchen with us. I loved that little bird and it was so cute; he became bilingual, speaking as much Spanish as he did English!
Mexican Pan Dulce are an assortment of sweet treats that can include empanadas, cuernitos (croissants) and puerquitos (pig shaped cookies). While the phrase encompasses a wide variety of treats, it also includes the better known ‘Conchas’ (circular sweet rolls topped with a sugary, crunchy, crumbly topping that is shaped and cut to resemble a seashell ) which are one of the most popular, and ‘Orejas,’ (shaped puff pastry filled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar).
The French occupation of Mexico in the mid 1800’s left a huge French influence and flourished well into the 20th century. When Mexican President Porfirio Díaz left Mexico in 1911 to live in exile in Paris, the French connection did not leave with him. Many popular Mexican Pan Dulce have names directly translated from the original French, while others have been assigned their own unique Spanish language title.
This particular Mexican Pan Dulce was the later; the French Palmier (palm tree) morphed into the Mexican Orejas (Ear) and in our American culture they simply called Elephant Ears. So easy to make too with purchased puff pastry, a bit of melted butter and a sprinkling of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (yes that’s my personal addition just because) and they’re ready for the oven. A bit too easy to eat though; light inside but crispy on the outside and just the right touch of sweet. Viva Las Orejas!!
Want to see more Mexican Pan Dulce treats? Visit my friend Yvette’s blog at Muy Bueno Cookbook for a post with photos and links for recipes; I know I want more! Bet you can’t eat just one either, I know I didn’t. Thank goodness for my army of eaters that will come to the rescue or I would have simply called these dinner. Now on to Progressive Eats and some more delicious Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo weekend or even better? All year long!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, and our host is Jane who blogs at The Heritage Cook.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious fiesta inspired dishes!
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
- Orejas Mexican Pan Dulce (Palmiers) – Creative Culinary (You’re Here!)
- Instant Pot Barbacoa Tacos – The Heritage Cook
- Pork Pozole Verde – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Guacamole and Salsa Fresca – From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) – Beyond Mere Sustenance
PIN ‘Orejas – A Mexican Pan Dulce’
- 1 box puff pastry
- 2-3 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup cane sugar or demerara sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (this is my addition just because I love it with cinnamon and sugar!)
- Defrost the puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for about 45 minutes.
- When your pastry is defrosted, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Line your countertop with parchment paper and spread about ¼ cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture on it, roughly in the shape of the puff pastry.
- Brush one side of the pastry with the melted butter and then turn it over and lay it on top of the sugar mixture on your countertop.
- Brush the side now facing up with melted butter and spread the remaining ¼ cup of sugar mixture liberally over the top of the puff pastry.
- Use a rolling pin to gently roll on the puff pastry to gently incorporate the sugar and butter into the pastry. Gently, you don't really want to flatten it.
- Fold the puff pastry inward from the edges on the long side and have the outside edges meet in the middle. Then fold again, again with the outside edges meeting in the middle. Using a sharp knife, cut about three quarter of an inch slices and transfer them, cut side down, to parchment paper-lined baking sheets (These expand a lot, use two). Fold each one in the shape of the letter U.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 5-7 minutes on one side, remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip them over and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days (Trust me there won't be any to save that long!).
I've used both all butter puff pastry dough and Pepperidge Farm which has some shortening. While I love the all butter version it is harder to find. I found mine at Sprouts and it's about twice as much as the Pepperidge Farm product. I did not slather a bunch of butter on it as a result; I would probably spread a bit more butter on the one from Pepperidge Farm!
Amount Per ServingCalories 230 Total Fat 10g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 23mg Sodium 78mg Carbohydrates 37g Fiber 2g Sugar 32g Protein 1g