Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Baker Man of Patzcuaro

Nearly every day, Alejandro the Baker Man comes out of his family's home bakery with the glass and wood showcase on his head. He deftly moves the case from the folded towel pad on his head to a "tijeras", or scissor stand. He makes his rounds of Pátzcuaro's Plazas.
 
The case is full of little pastry treats, the best of which are Empanaditas de Carne, delicate, hot turnovers, filled with picadillo or tuna. The thick, crumbling shortbread polvorones are super, still warm from the oven. 

Today, I met his father, Javier, who also sells the same baked goods and who taught Alejandro how to make them and sell them. Javier told me that all their products are artesanal and made by hand, without machines, then baked in an horno de barro. We are regular customers, and I can count on Alejandro to show up several times in the late morning and early afternoon, particularly at the corner of Calle Ibarra and Plaza Vasco Quiroga. The empanadas are available in a variety of sweet fillings as well, among them leche, coco o piña. Among the products are envinados or "rum cakes", "cream puffs" filled with cajeta, and especially, a moist, crumbly pastel de naranja.

Javier and his son Alejandro offer some of the true street food treasures of Pátzcuaro. I recommend their product to you. Look for them.

2 comments:

Croft Randle said...

If I had to single out just one reason to return to Mexico this winter it would have to be the bakeries!

Michael Warshauer said...

Croft, you might change your outlook on the bakeries if you lived here. All too many have dryish, overly sweet pan dulces and very ordinary bolillos and teleras.

However, there are a few small niche bakeries to be found, producing higher quality products.
See my earlier blog post about "La Espiga".
http://mexkitchen.blogspot.com/2006/06/la-espigauna-panaderia-tradicional.html

In Morelia you'll find the very artistic and creative panadería Horno de Los Ortiz.
http://www.pbase.com/panos/hornos_ortiz

Mike