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Entry from January 23, 2008
Besos (Mexican pastry “kisses")

"Besos” ("kisses") are Mexican sweet bread ("pan dulce") especially popular on holidays such as Valentine’s Day. A “beso” consists of two round domes with a “kiss” of jam (strawberry or pineapple or even cheese or anything else) sandwiched in-between. Besos can be found at many Mexican bakeries ("panaderias") in Texas.

The Pie in the Sky Café and Bakery in Mexico calls itself “Home of the famous Beso,” but besos usually don’t have the chocolate, fudge, and pecans that this bakery’s famous product uses. “Besos” have been cited in print since at least the 1930s.


Pie in the sky - Home of the famous Beso
Pie in the Sky Café and Bakery in Bucerias
When traveling through Mexico, on your way down the Pacific Coast, before you reach Puerto Vallarta, be sure to stop and linger a bit at our Pie in the Sky Bakery in Bucerias. “Whatever you do, don’t miss it,” says the Lonely Planet Travel Guide. Here, you will find that rare combination of traditional Mexican charm with the latest innovations in baking to provide you with an exceptional array of baked goods that—once tasted—will have you clamoring for more.

Here at the bakery, ten local artisan bakers, carefully trained by longtime Executive Chef Manuela Espieranza Garza, use the finest natural ingredients to produce offerings that reflect a unique blend of European, Mexican, and American baking traditions.

The “Beso,” our most popular product, has been described as being “beyond a brownie,” with its molten fudge center and its light sprinkling of pecans. If you are at all partial to chocolate, you will find the Beso to be decadently delicious. They can be eaten fresh out of their wrappers or frozen and eaten cold, or frozen and warmed up in the oven. Beso lovers order them by the dozen, and we ship them throughout Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. 

Your Mexican Kitchen:
A Compilation of Mexican Recipes Practicable in the United States
by Natalie V. Scott
New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
1935
Pp. 253:
KISSES
Besos
4 cups of cornstarch
1 cup (not quite full) of sugar
1 cup (not quite full) of butter
7 egg-yolks
1 tps. of baking-powder

Mix the baking-powder well with the cornstarch; then stir (not beat) in the beaten egg-yolks, the butter, and the sugar, until all are well mixed and form a smooth thick paste.

Then make immediately small balls of the paste, flattening the balls slightly with the fingers.

Set the balls, not touching, in buttered pie plates and put them in a hot oven.

18 April 1952, Park Forest Star (Chicago, IL), pg. 2, col. 2:
Mexican bakeries (In Los Angeles—ed.) aren’t as numerous as delicatessens like Pedro’s, but it’s a real experience to go into one. Even if your Spanish is strictly of the book variety you can usually find someone to tell you what the names of the various pastries mean. “Pan dulce,” which means “sweet bread,” are what the bakeries specialize in since tortilla factories make what Mexicans use for bread.

Going up to the shelves where the pan dulce is placed in trays is like going up to the penny candy case in an old-fashioned store. To choose from are “pan de huevo” or egg bread, “Elotitos” or cobs of corn, “cuernos” or horns, “abrazos” or hugs, “besos” or kisses. Untranslatable items are such things as “chamucos” and “campechanas.” There is also a delicate leaf pastry filled with custard which has various names, one of which is “pastelitos de hoja,” which translated liberally means “little pies of leaves.”

6 December 1961, Amarillo (TX) Globe-Times, pg. 13, col. 1:
You want to make some Besos for when folks drop in during the holidays?... providing, of course, they get their shopping done in time to visit a bit...Besos, as you doubtless know, are Mexican kisses, and their recipe is probably the only simple recipe in all Mexican sweets...here’s how…

Cream 1 cup of shortening with 2 cups of sugar and work in 1/4 teaspoon soda, 2 cups of sifted flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll out on slightly floured board about 1/2 inch thick and cut into small rounds. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) for 10 to 12 minutes. When cool, you can stick the cookies together with a layer of marmalade or roll them while hot in a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon.

Rico Pan De Dulce
The bread
Written by Source: SEP, Department of Education, Enciclopedia de México (Encyclopedia of Mexico), Mexico, 1987
Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Gendarmes (policemen), llaves (keys), cuernitos (horns), alamares (frogs), palomas (doves), besos (kisses), moños (bows), corbatas (ties), banderillas, campechanas, magdalenas, orejas (ears), garibaldis, conchas (shells), calzones (underwear), cocoles and pelonas (bald ladies).

Do you know what we are talking about? Of course, these are all names of different kinds of Mexican sweet bread. 

New York (NY) Times
For Children
By DULCIE LEIMBACH
Published: November 10, 1995
(...)
Not in the pamphlet but also on 43d Avenue, near 46th Street, is La Pequena, a Mexican bakery. Inside, on glass shelves, were sugary sweets and pineapple kisses (besos de pina). 

28 May 2001, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Bush Wooed ‘Em and Won in Democratic El Paso” by Mark Z. Barabak, pg. A10:
Perhaps most important, Bush started visiting El Paso. And when he showed up, he stuck around, hiking the Franklin Mountains, going to church and stopping for pan dulce and coffee at the Bowie Bakery, an institution in the Segundo Barrio section. (...) “Besos, bunuelos and buena suerte”—or kisses, sweetbread and good luck.

Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Mexican bakery creates daily ritual” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 4:
To meet growing demand, he and Harmon opened a second El Bolillo on Office City Drive. Like the original location, the new store is lined with glass cases brimming with sweet breads and pastries. The names of the breads are inspired by their shapes: pollos (chicks), novias (brides), orejas (ears), bigotes (mustaches) and besos (kisses).

The goodies sell for 15-60 cents each. 

Dallas (TX) Morning News
A user’s guide to pan dulce
It’s all good — but it doesn’t hurt to know your cuerno from your concha
February 11, 2005
By BARBARA RODRIGUEZ / Special Contributor
(...)
In addition to the familiar pan de huevos ("egg breads"), bakers produce pan finos, delicate puff pastries such as campechanas ("hammocks"), and a Valentine’s favorite: besos (a “kiss” of strawberry jam between flaky layers).
(...)
Besos: A pan fino favorite, usually with a “kiss” of strawberry jam in the puckered

Feed Me/Drink Me
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Ruiz Bakery—Mexican Bakery Par Excellance
Posted by braingirl
Besos—or any variation of Besos (here “Besos de Chango") are pastries filled with cream or jelly and then rolled in sugar—usually granular instead of the powdered we’re used to. You’ll also find variations of Berliners or more traditional jelly donuts in some shops.
(...)
Ruiz Bakery
2613 W. Washington (Indianapolis, IN—ed.)
317-951-0011

Eating In Translation
November 01, 2006
Don Paco Lopez Panaderia
At a panaderia, customarily you help yourself to the pastries of your choice, using a tray and tongs; I plucked this still-warm jojo (80 cents) from a fresh batch.

Also called a “beso,” it sealed together two sugar-dusted domes of yellow cake with a “kiss” of strawberry jam. (That well may be where the name comes from, but I wasn’t comfortable asking the counterman any more about a kiss.)

On a return visit, my selections included the flaky pastry below (perhaps called a “tornillo”; $1) that was spiraled into the shape of a cone, then filled with an egg custard.

Don Paco Lopez Panaderia
2129 Third Ave. (116th-117th Sts.) (New York City—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 23, 2008 • Permalink