Like clockwork, the holiday staples begin appearing on the
shelves of Argentine markets around the first week of December: blue and red
foil-wrapped pan dulce, packets of
cavity-inducing turrón and Mantecol, and
bottles of bubbly sidra. When it
comes to baked goods, nothing else says Christmas in Argentina like pan dulce, a sweet yeast bread known to
most Americans as panettone. Popularized by Italian immigrants, pan dulce has become an indispensable part
of holiday celebrations in Argentina.
To be sincere, I could never get that worked up about pan dulce. The ubiquitous, commercially made version generally suffers from one or more of the following defects: dry, tasteless dough; an excess of unappetizing candied fruits (cherries should never be green in my opinion); and a dearth of the ingredients that I really enjoy, such as walnuts and almonds. The pan dulce available at local bakeries generally raises the bar, but if you’re after customizability, homemade pan dulce simply can’t be beat.
This recipe yields a rich, flavorful dough chock full of nuts, along with homemade candied orange peel and chunks of chocolate. The dough, perfumed with orange blossom water, will make your kitchen smell divine as the bread bakes. Though the recipe is a bit time consuming, I assure you that you’ll never go back to store-bought pan dulce after sampling the homemade version. Feel free to tailor the recipe to your taste. If you love those green cherries, go ahead and add them.
Panettone | Pan Dulce