Sunday Brunch: Pan de Mallorca

I'm in Old San Juan as I write this, and we had an amazing late lunch at the famous bakery La Bombonera. I had an exemplary plate of roast pork complete with crunchy skin. For dessert we had the bakery's pan de mallorca, a flaky pastry the place serves up in both sweet and savory fashion. It would be a great dish to serve for brunch. This sweet pan mallorca recipe is adapted from Yvonne Ortiz' fine cookbook, A Taste of Puerto Rico, but you could make it savory as they do at La Bombonera by stuffing each roll with ham and cheese. I know it seems silly to combine powdered sugar and ham and cheese, but it totally works.

Pan de Mallorca

- Makes 9 rolls -


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter 1 package active dry yeast 1/4 cup lukewarm water 1/4 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 egg yolks 1/2 cup milk 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour flour for dusting work surface butter to grease bowl and pan confectioners' sugar for dusting


1. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar, salt, egg yolks, milk, 4 tablespoons of the cooled butter, and 2-1/2 cups of the flour. Mix well.

2. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn out the dough and knead for 5 minutes. Add enough of the remaining flour so that the dough is not sticky.

3. Grease a bowl with butter. Pur the dough in it and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside. Punch the dough down. Knead it on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 18x9 inches. Brush with the remaining melted butter. Roll up the dough from one short end and cut it into 9 slices; trim the ends to make them neat. Arrange the slices in the baking pan. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and dust with confectioners' sugar.