Bill and I are in Cancun, Mexico for our annual winter holiday. We have been coming to the Baccara for over 20 years. It is a vacation well needed and it is the only week during the year that I don't bake anything. We have a tradition— an immediate trip to the supermarket. I grab a cart and literally run to the area where the fresh tortillas are being made for my usual warm stack. I always munch on them as we shop for local veggies, fruits, herbs and cheese. When we arrived at the counter the tortilla machine had been turned off— there were none left in the case in their traditional paper wrappers.! Upset and disappointed, i went to the fresh bakery department and bought several small breads instead. They looked promising but turned out to be tasteless. What was I thinking? This country is the home of the tortilla, the panucho and the sopa—not bread.
However, the traditional yeasted Mexican sweet bun, known as Concha, are really delicious and never disappointing and so I popped a few in a bag and had one on the ride back to the hotel. Eating in the car is always fun and extra special when the sun is shinning and the palm trees are waving at me as we ride along.
The flavors vary in the sugar topping and the yeasted dough remains universal. I call them the "Mexican Doughnut" You need to eat them in the morning when they are fresh from the ovens. The ones below are Vanilla and Chocolate. The design cut into the sugary dough like topping is created when the dough has risen and the Concha are ready for the oven. The signature pattern in the sugar topping has always intrigued me and as you can see the shell like surface resembles the perfectly formed seashell found on the beaches of this glorious country.
P.S. Tradition has it that one must eat them warm from the oven dipped in hot chocolate.
I may have to make some when I return to the bakery.