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View Full Version : Pastries that are not oversweetened - is this a Hispanic style of food?


Napier
11-15-2010, 09:06 PM
In the last few years there have appeared various excellent packaged pastries in convenience stores that, unlike most, are not covered in thick, cheap icing. Cinnamon rolls and little loaves of bread tapered like a croissant but not curved come to mind. Their flavor is wonderful and they are a splendid treat.

All the ones I have seen have brand names that sound Hispanic to me. Some are described with a Spanish word followed by an English term in parentheses.

Is it more common in Hispanic cooking, or Hispanic factory-produced packaged foods, that pastries have less sugar and especially less of that horrible greasy icing, the awful syrup, and the candied coverings that predominate in the major brands we've seen for a long time like Hostess, Tasty Kake, Entenmanns, Little Debbie?

Not sure what to hope for, as they are difficult to resist.

Little Nemo
11-16-2010, 12:08 AM
Yes, many Mexican pastries are much less sweet than their American counterparts.

Wendell Wagner
11-16-2010, 03:45 AM
You might want to find a Hispanic bakery near you and try the pastries there.

Nava
11-16-2010, 03:51 AM
I would say it is a not-American style of cooking; Hispanics definitely do find American sweets and pastries to be more similar to "shapely, colored lumps of sugar with sugar, and some added sugar" than to actual food, but I've heard the same from Italians, Armenians, Hungarians... I've had pastries from kosher bakeries in the US which were identical to Spanish ones (we probably got the recipe from each other), that is, very "un-American" in that they actually tasted of someting other than sugar and frosting.

Balthisar
11-16-2010, 06:39 AM
Oh, very definitely Hispanic and non-American. Even in places where you'd think that the desserts (pre-packaged or at restaurants/bakeries) would be decadent (say, Germany or France) have a lot less richness to them than in the USA.

SanVito
11-16-2010, 06:45 AM
I find this true of American food in general - even the plain white bread and butter taste sweet to me.

Harmonious Discord
11-16-2010, 06:51 AM
The origins of what you call American pastries just migrated here like what you call Hispanic did. There are less sugary breakfast rolls from other ethnic origins out there too.

Nava
11-16-2010, 06:54 AM
Oh, very definitely Hispanic and non-American. Even in places where you'd think that the desserts (pre-packaged or at restaurants/bakeries) would be decadent (say, Germany or France) have a lot less richness to them than in the USA.

Oh, French bread IS totally decadent. I mean, I'm not a bread person, but those six months living in France, next building to a baker's, oh my Gawd... But yeah, those amazing, incredible, this ought'a be illegal if it ain't a sin breads and cakes tasted nothing like their American cousins. They had actual textures, too, as in "more than one in a single item"! Damn, now I want me some French bread...

Napier
11-16-2010, 10:43 AM
Wow, thanks, everybody. I have a new mission now....

Rigamarole
11-16-2010, 01:43 PM
Are you talking about pan dulce (http://farm1.static.flickr.com/26/170083897_e4ce950bf6.jpg)?

Balthisar
11-16-2010, 02:53 PM
Oh, French bread IS totally decadent. I mean, I'm not a bread person, but those six months living in France, next building to a baker's, oh my Gawd... But yeah, those amazing, incredible, this ought'a be illegal if it ain't a sin breads and cakes tasted nothing like their American cousins. They had actual textures, too, as in "more than one in a single item"! Damn, now I want me some French bread...
They're doing something right. I didn't get a chance to have a whole lot of bread in France (but OMFG the duck [not goose] fois gras is worth flying back there for). But as for bread: In the States, there's this conception that gas station or convenience store sandwiches are crap (it's mostly true). Somewhere in northern France, though, we stopped at a service plaza (basically, a gas station in my book), and I had a simple farmer's sandwich ordered from behind glass, made with a French baguette, and to this day, I can say I've never had a better sandwich in my life, anywhere.

Are you talking about pan dulce (http://farm1.static.flickr.com/26/170083897_e4ce950bf6.jpg)?
I just had pan dulce at lunch today. Those conchas (the shell-looking breads) are not only un-sweet, they're flavorless, dry, and totally consumed out of proportion to their worth.

GilaB
11-16-2010, 02:58 PM
I've had pastries from kosher bakeries in the US which were identical to Spanish ones (we probably got the recipe from each other), that is, very "un-American" in that they actually tasted of someting other than sugar and frosting.
I've never had pastries from a non-kosher bakery, so I lack a point of reference, but I'm curious as to what stuff you thought was like Spanish baked goods.

Rachellelogram
11-16-2010, 09:00 PM
Pretty much the sweetest thing I've seen at a Mexican bakery is a churro. But they're still less sweet than, say, a zebra cake.

My favorite Mexican pastry (wish I could remember the name of it) is a brownish shiny bread with a sweetish cheese filling. It's like a cheese danish basically, but shaped differently, less sweet, and much more delicious.

Balthisar
11-16-2010, 10:01 PM
Pretty much the sweetest thing I've seen at a Mexican bakery is a churro. But they're still less sweet than, say, a zebra cake.
In Mexico, you get those at churro stands, not at bakeries. I'm not sure where you get those in the USA. I've only ever heard references to "churros" in the USA on "American Dad."
My favorite Mexican pastry (wish I could remember the name of it) is a brownish shiny bread with a sweetish cheese filling. It's like a cheese danish basically, but shaped differently, less sweet, and much more delicious.
Are you sure it's a pastry? As in, some type of breakfast or dessert bread? I ask because it sounds like something I don't know the name of either, but I wish to God that I did. It's usually served as part of a bread basket for full meals, kind of like an egg-bread (brioche) with some cheese/butter filling. Damn, I want to make some.

Rachellelogram
11-16-2010, 10:08 PM
In Mexico, you get those at churro stands, not at bakeries. I'm not sure where you get those in the USA. I've only ever heard references to "churros" in the USA on "American Dad."
I'm talking about Mexican bakeries that make Mexican pastries in the United States. The particular one I'm referencing was on the outskirts of a college town in Indiana. They sold many pastries, as well as churros. And everyone there called them churros. I grew up in a white-bread city in Indiana (though a Latino area wasn't too far away) and we called churros churros. We could get them at the mall sometimes.

I guess I'm not understanding where your misunderstanding is coming from. Are churros not a common food in your geographical location?

Little Nemo
11-16-2010, 10:09 PM
My favorite Mexican pastry (wish I could remember the name of it) is a brownish shiny bread with a sweetish cheese filling. It's like a cheese danish basically, but shaped differently, less sweet, and much more delicious.Sounds like a quesadilla. Most people are familiar with Mexican quesadillas, which are grilled burritos filled with meet and cheese. But a Central American quesadilla is completely different - it's like a cheese flavored pound cake. Like this (http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2010/10/salvadoran_quesadilla_el_guanaco_taqueria_oakland_park.php) or this (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/06/26/salvadorianbakery/).

GiantRat
11-16-2010, 10:11 PM
They're doing something right. I didn't get a chance to have a whole lot of bread in France (but OMFG the duck [not goose] fois gras is worth flying back there for). .

[quote truncated]

FoisGrasIsEvil is going to hunt you down and stuff grains down your gullet for this one. :D

Balthisar
11-17-2010, 06:47 AM
I'm talking about Mexican bakeries that make Mexican pastries in the United States. The particular one I'm referencing was on the outskirts of a college town in Indiana. They sold many pastries, as well as churros. And everyone there called them churros. I grew up in a white-bread city in Indiana (though a Latino area wasn't too far away) and we called churros churros. We could get them at the mall sometimes.

I guess I'm not understanding where your misunderstanding is coming from. Are churros not a common food in your geographical location?
Misunderstanding? I definitely know what churros are, but I've never encountered them anywhere in the United States, except in the Mexican Town area of Detroit and in Old Town in San Diego (which is very Mexican). In my area (SE Michigan) they're definitely an uncommon food in my geographical area. In Mexico they're obviously not uncommon at all, except in my present neighborhood where the only ethnic stuff allowed Kosher. They don't come from bakeries here, though, is all I meant.

Rachellelogram
11-17-2010, 03:05 PM
Gotcha. Yeah churros are apparently remarkably common in Northwest Indiana. But again there was a pretty large Hispanic population not far from my town, which would likely explain it.

Kyla
11-17-2010, 06:50 PM
Misunderstanding? I definitely know what churros are, but I've never encountered them anywhere in the United States, except in the Mexican Town area of Detroit and in Old Town in San Diego (which is very Mexican).
Seriously? Churros are pretty ordinary fair or ballpark food, in my experience. I wouldn't expect to get one at a panaderia, though.

Rigamarole
11-17-2010, 07:32 PM
I just had pan dulce at lunch today. Those conchas (the shell-looking breads) are not only un-sweet, they're flavorless, dry, and totally consumed out of proportion to their worth.

I agree... they're pretty bad. I live in an area with a heavily Latino population and the stuff is everywhere. I don't presume to get it.

Hello Again
11-17-2010, 07:41 PM
Seriously? Churros are pretty ordinary fair or ballpark food, in my experience. I wouldn't expect to get one at a panaderia, though.
Yup, they sell them out of carts in NYC everywhere, not just hispanic neighborhoods. 2 for $1 in Astoria, Queens last weekend (a neighborhood known for its Greek population).

Ponch8
11-17-2010, 09:28 PM
Pretty much the sweetest thing I've seen at a Mexican bakery is a churro. But they're still less sweet than, say, a zebra cake.


I wouldn't consider a zebra cake to be a pastry any more than I'd consider Orange Fanta to be orange juice.

Rachellelogram
11-17-2010, 10:31 PM
I wouldn't consider a zebra cake to be a pastry any more than I'd consider Orange Fanta to be orange juice.
I just had zebra cakes on the brain at the time. But there are people who would consider it a pastry, even if you don't.

Colibri
11-17-2010, 10:34 PM
Since this is about food, let's send it over to the Cafe.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Colibri
11-17-2010, 10:41 PM
Here in Panama, bakeries have plenty of non-sweet breadlike snacks, and also somewhat sweet cakes and pastries. But there are also some cloying sweet things too, like jelly rolls with icing.

devilsknew
11-17-2010, 11:13 PM
I think the less sweetened pastelles date to a more medieval mentality and the European tradition of a sparse economy of surga and its expense. Maybe it's the difference between Hot Cross Buns and Cinnamon Rolls... lots of the influence of the best franco-germanic historic pastry ideas to get to the American Cinnamon Roll.

devilsknew
11-17-2010, 11:54 PM
Refined sugar is also probably rarer in an aboriginal culture that has rich fruit and sucrose/fructose sources. The sweet fruit entirely or partially substitutes for sugar, and the sugar is considered an "accent" or "enhancer". I like sweet things, but I don't like my teeth to hurt. There certainly is a middle between sucky Mexican pastries and delicious American pastries.

Bad News Baboon
11-18-2010, 12:06 AM
Two of the biggest Mexican brands of packaged baked goods here in the US are Bimbo (say beam-bo) whose mascot is a white bear with a bakers hat. The other is Mariela. The former makes the stuff you describe, the later makes things similar to Hostess in taste and, IMO, sweetness.


Edited to add: I seem to recall Bimbo has a pronunciation guide next to the logo. I'm surprised they didn't change their name but things seem to be working out ok.

devilsknew
11-18-2010, 12:59 AM
Between Hostess and Little Debbie, I would rather have a Dolly Madison Zinger.

ñañi
11-18-2010, 02:06 AM
There is nothing like a good concha. Finding a bakery that makes them right (not Safeway) is a wonderful experience.

The local Costco here sells churros. i always thought of them in the US as being more of a "Disneyland" kind of food.

Balthisar
11-18-2010, 06:42 AM
Seriously? Churros are pretty ordinary fair or ballpark food, in my experience. I wouldn't expect to get one at a panaderia, though.

I've never seen them at ballparks, but (1) I only ever go to Comerica Park, and (2) I hate baseball so I spend my time looking for the one Labatt stand amongst the 10 Budweiser stands! I also don't see them at the other Detroit stadiums. That doesn't mean they don't exist; I've just assumed they don't. As for fairs, it seems to be dominated by elephant ears.

And here all this time I thought I was one of the very few gringos who even knew what a churro was! (And probably the only one who's actually made them at home.)

Two of the biggest Mexican brands of packaged baked goods here in the US are Bimbo (say beam-bo) whose mascot is a white bear with a bakers hat.
Fun fact: Bimbo owns the Thomas' English Muffins brand, and just (in the last couple of days) bought Sara Lee brands. I think that acquisition has made it the largest bakery company in the world.

Nava
11-18-2010, 07:01 AM
I've never had pastries from a non-kosher bakery, so I lack a point of reference, but I'm curious as to what stuff you thought was like Spanish baked goods.

The possibility of me remembering the name of some stuff I had in 1997 and 1998 ran to zero a while back, but the mass was like the one used in soft trenzas (http://www.google.es/images?q=trenza+pastelería), roscones (http://www.google.es/images?q=rosc%C3%B3n) or in the pastry part of culecas (http://www.google.es/images?q=culeca). The crust is soft, the pastry's white, fluffy heart itself is pretty flavorless; there can be a filling of unsweetened whipped cream or of crema, or glazed fruits. Egg white is used to get sugar stuck to the surface.

(Culeca is a local variant of a term meaning "a hen that wants to nest", hence the whole egg - the spelling of the general term is clueca).

Kyla
11-19-2010, 11:11 AM
I've never seen them at ballparks, but (1) I only ever go to Comerica Park, and (2) I hate baseball so I spend my time looking for the one Labatt stand amongst the 10 Budweiser stands! I also don't see them at the other Detroit stadiums. That doesn't mean they don't exist; I've just assumed they don't. As for fairs, it seems to be dominated by elephant ears.

Maybe it's regional. I don't even know what an elephant ear is.

Chefguy
11-19-2010, 12:14 PM
Oh, very definitely Hispanic and non-American. Even in places where you'd think that the desserts (pre-packaged or at restaurants/bakeries) would be decadent (say, Germany or France) have a lot less richness to them than in the USA.

Some of this has to do with not putting sugar in whipping cream, as I recall. German pastries look wonderful, but are usually disappointing to American tastes.

Really Not All That Bright
11-19-2010, 12:18 PM
The only place I've ever seen a churro is a stand at Downtown Disney's West Side in Orlando. Which is good, because those things are yucky.

PunditLisa
11-19-2010, 03:05 PM
Check out Mediterranean or Greek restaurants if you want slightly sweetened desserts.

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