La Purisima Bakery vs. La Reyna Bakery: Pan Dulce Battle
Natalie Miranda Pan dulce from La Purisima Bakery.
Pan dulce, or sweet bread, is the poster child for Mexican sweet treats. It's cheap, sweet, and easy to find in the Valley. Pan dulce is to Hispanics as biscotti is to Italians, and something many have come to enjoy because of the vast amount of panaderias throughout the Valley. The hard part is weeding out the inferior sweets.
We pitted La Purisima Pasteleria in Glendale and La Reyna Bakery in Phoenix against each other to find out who has the better selection and better quality of the two panaderias.
In This Corner: La Purisima Pasteleria
The Setting: It's impossible to miss the huge blue building that houses all the pan dulce La Purisima puts out. Inside the bakers hard at work constantly refilling the four counter cases and the two cases behind the counter with fresh pan dulce. The colors of the conchas (the most recognizable pan dulce) and cookies brighten up the cases and all the sugar coatings reflect the light.
The Good: Many people are timid when it comes to going into panaderias or Mexican meat markets because they don't know Spanish. Don't let that hold you back from walking into La Purisima. The workersa are bilingual and will answer any questions you may have about the pastries. The bakery is clean and well-lit with friendly customer service.
We chose one concha, a yo-yo (made up of two half sphears of pink cake held together with white frosting and coated with shaved coconut), and one cuernitos (little horn) covered with sugar. Our total was $2.36. (Important note: La Purisima is cash only.) There is no seating inside the bakery, so we couldn't wait to get home to dive into our bag of fresh pan.
Conchas come with sugar patterns on top in white, pink or brown, giving it a sweet finish. The pink sugar on top of ours gave off a hint of sweetness. The yo-yo was moist and the coconut was fresh. Sometimes at other bakeries the coconut is old, letting you know not to bother with that place anymore. The cuernito is sort of like a croissant, but sweet since it's covered in sugar. The sweetness was spot-on, and our favorite out of the three.
The Bad: Our concha was too dry inside. The inside of a concha is already light, and it's unappetizing biting into stale bread with only a little bit of sweetness to go with it. The cuernito was much the same: dry and a little rough when taking bites.