Pan’s labyrinth: A maze of Chilean flavours
We’ve looked beyond the ubiquitous Christmas plum pudding and plumbed Chilean tradition for a fresh festive treat. Pan de pascua is a cross between panettone and stollen, with a healthy dose of pisco (Chilean brandy) and aniseed. It is generally washed down with a cola de mono (monkey’s tail), an alcoholic coffee and milk tipple, spiced with cloves and cinnamon.
Preparation: 3 hours
1tbs dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1tsp lemon zest, grated
2tbs pisco, brandy or rum
1½tsp ground aniseed (anise extract or 50ml anise liqueur)
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
2-2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup (50g) soft butter
¾ cup candied fruit
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
2tbs butter, melted
Pour ½ cup warm water (38°-46°C) into a small bowl. Sprinkle in the dry yeast and sugar. Leave to rest in a warm place for 2-3 mins, then stir the mixture so yeast and sugar are dissolved. Leave for another 5 mins until the yeast bubbles and the volume increases a little.
Transfer the yeast mixture to a large bowl. Add the egg, sugar, zest, salt, pisco, aniseed, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir well. Add 1½ cups flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be soft and sticky. If the dough is too sticky to make a ball, add a little more flour.
Divide the butter into 3 parts, and add in parts to the mixture, which will again become sticky. Now add ½-1 cup more flour gradually, mixing with your hands. When the dough is firm and does not stick to your hands, knead for about 10 mins, or until the dough is smooth and glossy, with bubbles on the surface. Make a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with greased wax paper or a tea towel. Leave to stand in a warm place for 30-45 mins (until it has doubled in volume).
Beat the dough to deflate it. Spread it out and sprinkle over the candied fruit , raisins and nuts. Fold the dough over and knead gently to distribute the fruit. Make a ball with the dough. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cut a piece of wax paper about 60cm long and 12cm wide. Grease one side of the paper, wrap it around the dough, and press the ends with a clip. Let the dough rise again until it has doubled in size, about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Unwrap the dough and brush with melted butter. Bake for 20 mins, brush again with melted butter and continue baking for another 20 mins.
Cut the bread into thick slices to serve.