Orejas (Mexican Pan Dulce)

Orejas, or panderas, are also commonly known as palmiers, a  sweet treat made from puff pastry, sugar and cinnamon and are common in panaderías found throughout Mexico.

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce Served on a Plate with Blood Oranges

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 is Cinco de Mayo and I made Orejas; a wonderful flaky sweet treat.

Join us for our tour through foods perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

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:

  1.  An Enchilada Casserole – Definitely an Americanized version!
  2. My Favorite Guacamole –  The thing I love most…it’s about the guacamole!
  3. Cilantro and Serrano Rice  –  A revelation. The first time I made it I ‘sampled’ so much I had to make more for a party.
  4. The BEST Margarita  – All fresh ingredients and not kidding when I say the best!

Best Fresh Margarita from @CreativCulinary

Then I remembered a moment in time that made it clear what I must make for this event; this example of Orejas (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!

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce Cooling on a Tray

Orejas (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.

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce in a Dark Brown Bread Basket

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!

Progressive Eats

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

Beverages

Appetizers

Bread

  • Orejas Mexican Pan Dulce (Palmiers) – Creative Culinary (You’re Here!)

Main Courses

Side Dish

Desserts

PIN ‘Orejas – A Mexican Pan Dulce’

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce with oranges and coffee for breakfast

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce Cooling on a Tray
Print Recipe
4.74 from 15 votes

Orejas - A Mexican Pan Dulce

Orejas (Mexican Pan Dulce) are actually so easy to make, they're like our American Palmiers...so easy to eat too!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time11 mins
Total Time26 mins
Course: All Recipes
Servings: 16 -18 Pieces
Calories: 115kcal
Author: Creative Culinary

Ingredients

  • 1 box puff pastry
  • 2-3 Tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar or demerara sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg this is my addition just because I love it with cinnamon and sugar!

Instructions

  • 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!).

Notes

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!

Nutrition

Serving: 28 | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g

Similar Posts

30 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I found these cookies at Walmart so I decided to give them a try, (mainly because the calories were just insanely low!). Needless to say I went back and bought 2 more, one for myself again and one for my daughter, so she could try them. They are definitely a hit!! These cookies are just AmAZinGlY Delicious and so crazy low on calories!! I had to search for the recipe 😋 I’m going to bake them and hand them out to all my family and friends!!
    Hmm… There are so many disruptive adverts on this page it is near impossible just to read the recipe, forget trying to write it out or copy and paste it! Yes I did try but the adverts are just flying EverYWhErE!
    Please do something about your adverts? Normally I wouldn’t have wasted a moment to close out and look elsewhere. Thanks!

    1. There is a section with the recipe components that is printable, it’s not necessary to try and write it down. And I monitor the advertising and seldom get complaints but I have to ask this question. Do you think I should work full-time developing recipes, cooking, photographing, and writing the posts and doing social media to make sure they’re found and not make an income? This is my job and what you call adverts is how I make the money to support myself and pay the bills. I’m only sorry you felt encumbered to have to deal with them while seeking the results of my work which is otherwise FREE for you. Think about it.

      1. Hey who am I to judge if it’s your bread and butter? I wasn’t trying to insult you by any sense of the word. Simply put it was just to let you know the adverts are quite agressive and only as an fyi not a bash.

      2. Oh and thank you for your time in putting this together for everyone, they really are delicious! Also the story of your family was quite interesting, thank you!!

  2. Hi there!

    Can I assume when you say “box” of puff pastry, that you are using both sleeves I’m the box, or just one pastry from the box?
    I apologize if this seems like a dumb question.

  3. How delightful that your uncle went and found love in a different country and that you found a loving aunt to hang out with!! I haven’t ever had orejas!! A recipe I must try

    1. If you want my advice (and it’s worth what you pay for it) don’t try these! We did just one time when we were in Mexico. Now we’re addicted. You’ve been warned.

  4. These look so good – I can’t believe how simple the ingredient list is! And I’m with you 100% on that pinch of nutmeg. Yummmm.

    1. They are basically the same thing but once I had that recall that my aunt used to make these for me this is what I had to do. Yes these are not just for Cinco de Mayo here either, they’re almost too easy to make and too good to stop eating. 🙂

  5. I may already have made these and just called them a version of palmiers. Little did I know that I was actually making orejas! How wonderful. And what a lovely story about your uncle and aunt. Sounds like the kind of family I would have enjoyed being around, especially when there were treats like these coming out of the oven.

    1. They are both! I was amazed at how easy they are to make, but then I’m not making my own puff pastry either, there is that. One convenience food I LOVE! They were fun…brought back a lot of memories.

    1. Of course that’s the thing right? I have to say I’ve used Pepperridge Farm a lot but I had bought everything else I needed at Sprouts and the all butter brand is all they had. I’m not sure I can ever go back…even if they are a bit pricey; the flavor and crispiness were outstanding!

  6. Love the history lesson! Just like with the banh mi in Vietnam, the French spread their love of wheat bread and pastries. Your “ears” looks absolutely perfect. My eye is also on your margarita!

    1. These are great, they really are but if you like margaritas you MUST try this one. Seriously the best I’ve ever had…all fresh fruits and good tequila and real essence of orange. It ALL matters! Cheers!!

  7. I hadn’t realized the connection between the French and Mexican sweet treats. They are so good and I would eat the entire batch in one sitting if I was left alone with them LOL. Beautiful baking Barb!

    1. I hadn’t either Jane…of course back when I was ten someone could have told me and I would have likely said, fine…please pass me another. 🙂

  8. I love a bit of history with a recipe Barb. Thank you! Your orejas look so yummy – and easy too. Living on the border, they’re likely to appear on my party spread one of these days! Great recipe!

    1. The easy part certainly appealed to me I cannot deny but the wonderful taste of a homemade treat will make them a mainstay in my kitchen.

  9. Oh, boy, if you’re serving up all your favorite Mexican foods for Cinco de Mayo, I’m heading your way! Your palmiers sound amazing—I’ve never heard of orejas until now, but I’m a fan!

    1. It’s funny Liz but knowing their more common identity of palmiers it never brought it together in my mind. When I went searching for a bread, I happened up an article about Mexican breads and voila…it just clicked! You know how it is in Denver…come anytime, we’ll find Mexican foods easily!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.