For as long as I can remember, every time it hits December my mum makes the house smell like christmas with her Pan de Pascua ( Christmas Bread), this is actually a recipe which my mum was given by my Tia’s Luz & Pily and is their mother’s recipe. So it is a recipe which has been passed down through 3 generations & the intricacy of the recipe shows it has been refined and tested over the years.
My mum pulls out her old recipe book, where the recipe is jotted down in her fabulous cursive writing, it is faded & has bread batter from previous years all over it. Sharing a family recipe is always something I take caution with as it is sacred to those who have it, there is something so special about being able to capture this recipe, it’s like a tribute to my childhood memories and hopefully for future generations to come. This recipe in particular, has always been a way of keeping Chilean christmas traditions alive in Australia for my family & our other Chilean friends ( who consequently are like family). It was an initial way for my parents to bond with new friends as immigrants in a foreign country. It is more than a recipe, it is friendship, sharing & tradition.
It’s in my opinion the best pan de pascua I have ever had (sure i’m bias), it has the right density, isn’t too dry and tastes like christmas with its nutmeg, star anise and liquor combination. We have always left a piece of this bread with a glass of my mums cola de mono ( a traditional christmas chilean drink translating to “monkeys tail") as a twist on the milk and cookies combo for santa.
Best of all this recipe makes a tremendous amount of bread, so it’s the perfect edible gift, it last about 2 months so you can make this way ahead of time.
To keep fresh simply wrap in baking paper & keep in a zip lock bag. I hope you enjoy this very special recipe to me.
Feliz Navidad - From The Table Top x
PAN DE PASCUA
Prep Time: 4 hours Cook Time: 1.5 hours ( big bread) 40 mins (cupcake) Makes: 7 big breads or 70 cupcake size cakes
30g cinnamon sticks
24g Star Anise
30g Cloves whole
2kg flour plain
1kg mixed dry fruit
200g glacé cherries
3 cups of liquor ( whisky, rum) '
2 cups of water
1/2 kilo icing cugar
1/4 kilo brown sugar
1kg of margarine
6 baking powder fully heaped teaspoons
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1. Heat your oven to 180C
2.Overnight place your mixed dry fruit & glacè cherries into a tray and pour your 3 cups of whisky or rum into the fruit mix. Let soak overnight so that they soak in the liquor.
2. The next day, put your cinnamon sticks, star anise & cloves into a sauce pan, cover with your 2 cups of water & bring to the boil. As soon as it boils take off the heat and let cool.
3. Separate the egg whites and mix until fluffy, slowly add the yolk to the white mix one by one
2. In another bowl mix the margarine, and sift the icing sugar in. Use an electric beat to mix the butter & sugar.
3. Add the brown sugar together and mix again.
4. Separate the liquid & clove, anise, & cinnamon sticks, then add half of the the cool liquid to the butter & sugar mix.
5. Add your egg mix into the margarine, sugar mix - slowly and mixing each time.
6. Sift in 1 kg of flour into the mix, and fold in.
7. Bring your mixed fruit mix over, which should have the alcohol completely soaked through. And put 2 cups of the plain flour through the mix them, this may be an old wives tale but my mother believes this makes sure that the fruit gets evenly spread within the bread & means the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom.
8. Add your walnuts and grate in your nutmeg
9. Add your baking powder & white vinegar which is good for preserving the bread for about 2 months
10. Add the rest of the flour ( 1/2 a kilo) If your mix is too dry add the other cup of your star anise, clove & cinnamon mix.
11. Butter up a tin & add a little flour to the mould. Place the bread batter into the tray & cook for about 1.5 hours. The cake should be a dark brown colour.
12. You can also make individual cupcake size breads ( great for gifting!) which take half the time (40 mins) in the oven as the surface area is smaller.
13. Feliz Navidad!