November 23, 2020 ·

Argentine Holiday Food – Pan Dulce


Pan Dulce

What is Pan Dulce

It’s sometimes hard to remember that Christmas is fast-approaching here in Buenos Aires. For one thing, it isn’t cold — an unthinkable sensation for those of us hailing from north of the equator. And instead of hearing Christmas music in every store on every street corner, the usual pop songs continue to play on. There are, of course, decorations (since decorations are half the fun!) and the city is full of lights, christmas trees, and a man clad in a red suit and sporting a white beard has taken the city by storm. And yet, having grown up in New England, I find it hard to believe that in just two days Christmas will be here without a blanket of snow on the ground and a nip in the air.

Having spent my life protesting against cold weather, I now find that I miss both it and the variety of hot beverages and candies that accompany this time of year. Yet Argentina has its own unique offerings to replace my usual winter-time treats. In particular there is Pan Dulce, a cake traditionally eaten at Christmas and New Years.

This traditional bread is said to have originated in Milan, Italy — the Italian name for it is Panettone, which literally means “large bread”). Towards the end of the nineteenth century large waves of Italians began migrating to Argentina, and Pan Dulce (literally, “sweet bread”) migrated along with them.

While no one knows exactly how Pan Dulce came to be, it has become so ubiquitous in many South American countries that everyone knows what it is. It’s a sweet cylindrical cake that is often prepared with dried fruits, such as currants and raisins. Here’s a great local Pan Dulce recipe (in Spanish) for some home-made Pan Dulce. This recipe makes about twelve servings. Unless you modify it by adding lots of chocolates, otherwise, the calorie counts should be under control in holiday food standard. Not bad for a sweet holiday snack!


3/4 cup warm milk (125 °F)
1 teaspoon + 5 tablespoons sugar
2 envelopes dry yeast
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chopped candied orange slices
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped Calimyrna figs
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

For more information about the Argentine Pan Dulce visit our Spanish School in Argentina or enter

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