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Entry from January 22, 2008
Campechanas

"Campechanas” are pastries found at many Mexican bakeries and some Texas supermarkets as well. The name “campechana” has been translated (below) as “hammock” and “jovial person,” but the term is usually not translated. Campechanas are rectangular, glazed puff pastries.

“Campechanas” have been cited in Texas newspapers since at least the 1930s.


Borderlands - El Paso Community College
Tempting Sweet Breads : Pan de Dulce
By Lynn Cordova, Inez Caldwell, Victor Canchola and Florence Brame comps.
(...)
Two types of bread made with multi-layer pastry are almohadas (pillows) and campechanas. Campechanas (jovial persons) are flaky, round and golden-brown with a shiny sugar glaze. They are sometimes made in different shapes and filled with jelly or pie filling.

Rico Pan De Dulce
Campechanas (Photo caption—ed.)
Crispy, Flakey, yummy Campechanas. 

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:
“Campechanas” came from far away Campeche by the Spanish Main—crisp, crunchy and hard to digest. 

14 May 1944, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 9, cols. 1-6:
Another Border Blessing—Pan De Dulce!
War Hasn’t Curtailed This Delicious Mexican Dish; Herald Reporter Tells Where It Came From
By CLARENCE LaROCHE
(...)
Brother, you just ain’t lived if you haven’t devoured a rosca, or a semita, or a dozen or so moyetes, polvorones or chirimoyas.
(...)
CAMPECHNANS (sic)—a highly seasoned flaky pastry that definitely exhibits French characteristics. The campechano, when bitten into, crumbles into crispy particles. The interior layers are not very sweet; the coating and outside layer is sweet.

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.”

9 April 1970, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 14A, col. 3 ad:
SOMETHING NEW AT G&G BAKERY
MEXICAN PASTRIES

ECHO POR JOSE HUERTA
PAN DE HUEVO MEXICANO
NOVIAS - POLCAS - CONCHAS
REVENTONES - ARMADILLOS
CAMPECHANAS - MANITAS
EMPANADAS - PASTEL DE POLVO
CAFE CAKE MEXICANO
SEMITAS DE CANELA
HERRADURAS

Google Books
South El Paso: El Segundo Barrio
by Salvador Ramirez
University of Colorado
1971
Pg. 64:
Los francesitos, virotes, pan blanco, polvorones, campechanas, pan dulce and next door one more attempt to save out people pennies while Nixon lends billions to Lockheed.

28 November 1988, Supermarket News, “Hispanic flair sweetens retailers sales (Handy Andy Supermarkets offer scratch baked Mexican baked goods at in store bakery)”:
Pan dulce, campechanas and empanadas retail at three for $1.

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: (Wes Voss)
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1993 17:53:20 GMT
Local: Thurs, Mar 11 1993 12:53 pm
Subject: Re: Ethnic Breakfasts (was What are Breakfasts like in Great Britain)

>We usually started off with huevos rancheros (ranch style eggs), fried eggs
>topped with hot sauce.  We also had refried beans and tamales.  Breads
>consisted of two kinds… Bolillos and pan de dulce.  Bolillos are french
>style rolls that look like (American) footballs, nice and warm on the inside,
>crisp and crunchy on the outside.  Pan de dulce is Mexican pastry, of which
>there is a myriad variety: roscas, campechanas, puercitos, alamares, conchas,
>etc. etc.  All VERY delicious.  The whole meal was accompanied by very strong
>coffee laced with cinnamon, brewed in a cast iron coffee pot.  Ahhh… I can
>still smell it…

23 September 1993, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. H32:
Campechanas: The flaky texture of campechanas is softer and more tender than the brittle libros. It takes real persistence to get the knack of rolling out this pastry, according to Diana Kennedy, author and Mexican food authority.

Google Groups: dc.dining
Newsgroups: dc.dining
From: (Ted Samsel)
Date: 1995/07/03
Subject: Re: Good Mexican food?

And a good San Antonio style panaderia (bakery) with pan dulce would be great.... maranitos (ginger pigs) & campechanas & empanadas de camote.

8 November 1995, Washington (DC) Times, “The meals of Mexico”:
I went crazy buying the bread from the rich variety of the so-called Mexican pan dulce (literally, “sweet bread"): gendarmes, polvorones, campechanas, ...

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:
Campechanas, also made from puff pastry, are sugar-glazed.

MySA.com
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, ...

MySA.com
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…

Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “El Bolillo Panderia offers sweet selection” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 14:
Campechanas: These flaky, sugar-glazed pastries shatter into a thousand buttery pieces when you bite into them.

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).

Chowhound - Texas
The West Hildebrand Bedoy’s still makes, on-site, some of the best flour tortillas in San Antonio. Even they have cut back on the lard over the years, but they still add enough. Their corn tortillas are good, too, but Bandera Molino has the edge in that category. Bedoy’s polvorones (cinnamon- and sugar-topped crumbly cookies—polvo means dust) are still excellent. So is their yeast-based pan dulce—like the cuernos (little horns) and the rolls that look like sugary croissants. Their campechanas (a long rectangle of thin layers of glazed, crunchy pastry) and empanadas de camote [camote means sweet potato], two traditional varieties of pan dulce, were very tasty, too. But the quality of their other pastries can be inconsistent. On my last visit, the marranitos (pig-shaped gingerbread-like sweets) and the piedras were hard. Piedras means rocks, but they’re not supposed to be that hard! Of course, given the very low prices ($2 for 5 pieces of pan dulce), I didn’t really mind.
(...)
MPH Aug 24, 2006 05:19AM

Austin (TX) American-Statesman blogs
A Love Affair with Pan Dulce
Posted 11.14.2006 4:59:17 AM
(...)
If I’m jonesing for sweeter goods, I’ll turn to campechanas which are golden flaky layers of light pastry topped with a shiny sweet glaze.

pan dulce by albert reyes
January 17, 2007
Pan Dulce in a Whole New Light
Downtown Dallas is covered with ice and snow today.
(...)
Pan Dulce is Spanish for “Sweet Bread.” This is what my grandfather and grandmother, as well as my parents used to eat with coffee when they got together with the rest of the family. I am talking about Cuernitos, Empanadas, Molletes, Conchas, Pan de Polvo, and Campechanas. Ok, if you don’t recognize these words you are really missing out.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, January 22, 2008 • Permalink