"Orejas” (’ears") are similar to Spain’s “palmeras,” France’s “palmiers,” and America’s “elephant ears.” The Mexican pastry is flaky and sweetened and can look like either “palm leaves” or “ears.” Orejas are sold in Mexican bakeries and also in many supermarkets throughout Texas.
“Orejas” have been cited in Texas newspapers since at least the 1930s.
Mexico’s Irresistible Bakeries
Karen Hursh Graber
The Mexicans have named their baked goods as whimsically as the Italians have named their pastas. Conchas (shells), orejas (ears), cuernos (horns), and cochinitos (little pigs) are only a few favorites. Care to try something different? How about bigotes (moustaches), trenzas (braids), or corbatas (neckties.) For the more adventurous, there are the somewhat aggressively named picones (jabbers) and piedras (stones.)
Mexico’s Historical Cookies
by June Summers
The oreja (ear) is a pan dulce (sweet bread) and is popular for breakfast. The oreja originated with the French who called it Papillon (butterfly) after its shape.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
[< French palmier (although this is first attested later: 1938), transferred use of palmier palm tree (see PALMER n.3).]
In French cookery: a biscuit made of sugared puff pastry, shaped like a palm leaf.
1929 E. J. KOLLIST French Pastry, Confectionery & Sweets iii. 34 Palmiers, pigs ears. Ingredients. Puff Paste..Castor Sugar.
1970 A. L. SIMON & R. HOWE Dict. Gastron. 287/1 Palmier, a Parisien speciality of small strips of puff pastry which are rolled in granulated sugar, folded and baked in a moderate oven until the sugar caramelizes.
1980 Redbook Oct. 187/2 Palmiers are small, chewy-crisp, heart-shaped puff-pastry cookies that you’ve probably seen in French-pastry shops.
Neuman and Baretti’s Dictionary of the Spanish and English Languages
Volune I Spanish and English
Boston, MA: Wilkins, Carter & Company
OREJA...Pan de orejas, (Madrid) Small indented bread.
25 January 1938, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, “Mexico’s Bread Has Personality; How About a Prussian for Tea?” by Betty Luther, pg. 9, cols. 6-8:
“Orejas” or ears, look the name.
Mexico: Her Daily & Festive Breads
by Barbara Howland Taylor
Rico Pan De Dulce
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.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
11 September 1996, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Mexican pastries taste of tradition/Beloved `pan de dulce’ gains favor in United States” by Nora Villagran:
Orejas are made from puff pastry and resemble elephant ears.
Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: (Victor M. Martinez)
Subject: Re: Looking for Basic Pan Dulce Recipe
Anyhow, there is no such thing as “basic pan dulce recipe”. There are dozens of different types of pan dulce in Mexico, some are available all over the country (conchas, cuernos, orejas, cocoles, semitas, etc.) and some other are regional specialties. They range from being basically pastries (orejas) to pretty much cakes. The only common denominator I can think of is that they’re all
yeast breads and they are all sweet. Other than that, every recipe is different. Maybe if your friend is more specific.
Pan de heaven
West Side bakeries offer best of pan dulce (June 9, 1999)
Hector Saldana Express-News Staff Writer San Antonio Express-News
Food Page 1F (1997 Words)
They are an endangered species - the mom-and-pop bakeries of the West Side. The beloved family-owned panader¡as, long the landmark of the barrio, are slowly disappearing. They are antiquated vestiges of a more flavorful past in this modern age of expansive baker’s cases at most grocery stores. But they do survive. Convenience is one thing, authentic taste quite another. There can be no argument that the best pan de huevo, campechanas, maranitos, cuernitos, orejas de wey, mojos, semitas de anos, ...
A glossary of popular pan dulce (June 9, 1999)
Hector Saldana San Antonio Express-News
Food Page 1F (356 Words)
Campechana - flaky, layered pastry with sugary glaze
Empanada - fruit-filled turnover, usually with pumpkin filling
Marranito - little brown piglet-shaped molasses cookie
Pan de huevo - slightly sweet, dense yeast-dough bread flavored with vanilla and stick cinnamon. Often called conchas for its shell pattern
Cuernito - sugary, cinnamon horn of pan de huevo
Piedra - cookie made from day-old bread with pink icing
Oreja de wey - rolled French pastry shaped…
Google Groups: sat.food
From: “Jerry Jungmann”
Subject: Re: Panaderias Mexicanas
Try La Michoacana at 3809 Blanco Rd. It is a quality bakery - Pan Dulce, Ojo de Buey, Orejas (called Palmeras in Spain), etc.
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.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “El Bolillo Panderia offers sweet selection” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 14:
Orejas: These crunchy, sugar-coated French puff pastries are shaped like ears, and named accordingly.
From: “A1 WBarfieldsr”
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2003 00:09:08 GMT
Local: Thurs, Sep 11 2003 7:09 pm
Subject: Re: Pan Dulce, OREJAS
OREJAS (Palm Leaves/Palmiers)
Many Mexican pastries we can now find for sale in US bakeries that cater to a Mexican-American clientele are similar to certain French pastries. A flat, sweet confection made of puff pastry is called Palmiers in French, Palm Leaves in English, but Mexicans call them Orejas ears.
In the 1924 Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook these directions are given for Palm Leaves. (The recipe assumes that you have some leftover puff pastry on hand that you will need to use up. You can, however, use any standard recipe for puff pastry.)
Roll remnants of puff pastry one-eighth thick; sprinkle one-half surface with powdered sugar, fold, press edges together, pat and roll out, using sugar for dredging board; repeat three times.
After the last rolling, fold four times.
The pastry should be in long strip one and one-half inches wide.
From the end, cut pieces one inch wide; place on baking sheet, broad side down, one inch apart, and separate layers of pastry at one end to suggest a leaf.
Bake eight minutes in hot oven; these will spread while baking.
Note: hot oven is usually defined as 400 F. This recipe was published in the days before many women had thermostats, or at least very accurate ones, on their ovens.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 lb. butter
In medium bowl, mix flour and salt thoroughly.
Make a well in center.
In another bowl, beat egg, water and oil together.
Pour mixture into flour and salt.
Mix until well blended; turn out onto lightly floured board and knead for 10 minutes. Roll out dough into a 20-inch square.
Cut butter into slices and arrange in a rectangle in center of dough.
Fold bottom edge up, so only 1/3 of top side of pastry shows.
Now fold down the top to 1/3. Fold over sides in same fashion.
Roll out with rolling pin to original 20 inch square and fold over as before.
Wrap airtight in foil and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Repeat the rolling, folding and 20 minutes chilling procedure 3 times.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the chilled dough as thin as you can.
Use a 4-inch diameter biscuit cutter, or tea cup to cut dough in circles.
Place 1 heaping teaspoon of cheese or your choice of mixtures in center of each circle.
Moisten edges of circle with cold water.
Fold over and seal the edges with a fork.
Place each half moon on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until lightly browned and pastry puffs up.
These may be frozen.
26 December 2003, New York (NY) Times, “36 Hours Oakland, Calif.” by Brenda Payton, pg. F5:
At Penas Bakery, (3355 Foothill Boulevard, 510-536-0661), pick up a 75-cent cup of coffee and choose from the rows of fresh and flaky, sugar-coated Mexican pastries with names like cuerno, bigote and oreja, at just 50 cents apiece.
Houston (TX) Chronicle (July 1, 2004)
El Bolillo Bakery #2
7610 Office City Drive
Houston, TX 77012
Critic pick: For carbo addicts, this charming Mexican panadería is paradise—glass cases brimming with sweet pastries and racks after racks of torpedo-shaped bolillos (baguettes), often still warm from the oven. Names of breads and pastries are inspired by their shapes: pollos (chicks), novias (brides), orejas (ears) and bigotes (mustaches).
Austin (TX) Chronicle (June 3, 2005)
We Mexicans have a tendency to Mexicanize everything, and pan dulce, also known as bizcochos, were not the exception. Mexican ingredients such as corn flour, piloncillo (raw sugar), chocolate, and native fruits such as pineapple, sweet potato, and guava found their way into the bakeries in a classic example of culinary mestizaje, or mixing of cultures. New pastries were created in whimsical shapes and in a variety of doughs and textures, bearing colorful names often relating to their shape. For instance, in a Mexican bakery one can find marranitos (little pigs), conchas (seashells), moños (bows), or bigotes (moustaches). Even traditional French pastries such as palmiers adopted a Mexican name: orejas (ears).
Brentwood (CA) Fun Times Guide
Mexican Panaderias and Pan Dulce
Written by Meredith on December 30, 2007
Here’s what we sampled and how we liked it:
Tres leches cake (3 milk) is a sweet, moist cake with a milky texture.
Bolillos are like a French baguette, only smaller, with an oval shape and softer crust.
Conchas are breads shaped like seashells and coated with sugary icing.
Orejas are flaky ear-shaped pastries much like Elephant Ears.
Cuernos were my favorite. Like a big, fluffy croissant dusted with a sugar crust.
Empanadas are soft, smooth pockets of dough with cream cheese or fruit fillings.
Churros were long sticks of chewy pastry well coated in cinnamon.
Marranitos are dense gingerbread cookies shaped like pigs. Cute!
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Wednesday, January 23, 2008 • Permalink
We have a similar pastry like this here in the Philippines - it’s called “otap.” It’s flaky too and sprinkled with sugar. It’s really yummy.
I really love baking cookies.I never try baking otap but i think i can do that once in a while