Also Known as panettone, is what me and my mom can’t stop discussing around the end of the year. WE ARE OBSESSED.
I think this healthy obsession started when it was evident that I would be moving to the US. It’s the first thing that came to my head as the, I can’t have Christmas without it. So each December we would try different recipes and try to perfect them.
The problem is that there are one trillion things that could go wrong when making pan Dulce, so each time you make it, if something isn’t great it is hard to nail down exactly where in the process you either messed up or the recipe could use tweaking. The other thing is that it takes hours to days of rising, caring and tending to.
It traditionally contains a mixture of crystallized fruit and nuts and for a final touch it’s glazed and decorated with more fruit.
So if it goes wrong you can imagine that: a. You are a bit upset about what feels like weeks of work for an “ok” result; and b. You are not going to throw yourself at making it again right away.
I will say this, making pan dulce has more often disappointed me rather than reward me. Yet every year I attempt to make it and always try to improve it. Why? Cause it reminds me of home and even if I do an “ok” job its still better that a Christmas without it.
Making pan dulce with my mom and my sister is FUN. Sticky dough made for the perfect weapon, dough has literally flown in the air before and stuck to our hair, I know how sanitary of us! Getting to enjoy it with them over some fresh brewed coffee and reviewing the results has always been rewarding.
Nowadays I FaceTime with my mom if I can at a certain point of what feels like 10,000 hours it takes to make it, and show her the dough consistency or the final result. She always has new tips and advice on how to make pan dulce and every once in a while when I get to visit Argentina she has a fresh batch of pan dulce waiting for me with an inevitable conversation on how it is better or different this time around.
Moving to the states at 23 was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Leaving everything you know, everyone that shaped your life and all of the traditions that shaped your memories will do a number on anyone.
It took about 2 years for me to begin to think of the US as my home. Baking and cooking had a huge role in me embracing this new country and what it had to offer. It was and is a way of even for a moment, bringing everyone and everything back.
And pan dulce is not the exception, every year I try, every year I think it could be better, but every time it brings me back to a time where I took for granted TIME, precious and valuable time spent with loved ones that we let slip away or fill up our lives so fast that we don’t make any room for it.