worldly wednesdays: pan dushi aruba
The recipe that kept popping up when researching Aruba’s food and Christmas customs was for sweet bread called pan dushi (sweet rolls). It isn’t surprising that Arubans make sweet bread that is a cousin to the sweet bread that we found is popular in Argentina, pan dulce and is also a holiday staple in Venezuela. Aruba is just a short distance north of the Venezuelan Peninsula, Paraguana. A flat, river-less island, Aruba lies in the Caribbean Sea and enjoys a pleasant climate that averages 81 degrees due to trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
Like many Caribbean Islands, Aruba was originally populated by Arawak Indians called Caiquetios who migrated north from the Orinoco Basin in South America. In 1499 the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda claimed Aruba in the name of Queen Isabella. Aruba received its name from one of two sources. First, it is said that Alonso de Ojeda named the island Oro Hubo (gold there). It also could have gotten its name from the Arawak work “oibubai” (guide). Not finding gold on Aruba or a climate conducive to farming, the Spanish left Aruba to pursue wealth elsewhere.
Aruba eventually became a haven for pirates who were after the gold being shipped from South America to Europe. In 1636, Aruba was noticed by the Dutch, who had been pushed off of St. Maarten by the Spanish. Looking to maintain a colonial presence in the Caribbean the Dutch turned their attention to Aruba, which they captured along with other Caribbean locations such as Curacao.
The Dutch maintained control of Aruba except between the years of 1805 to 1815 when the island was controlled by the British during the Napoleonic Wars. With that exception, Aruba has remained under Dutch control. With the discovery of gold in 1824 a gold rush began that lasted until 1916. In 1924 black gold, oil, replaced the precious metal. While oil remains source of income, the tourism industry has grown quite large.
Aruba was a hub of activity during the age of discover and colonial period. It isn’t surprising that a recipe enjoyed by Europeans who settled Venezuela and traveled the seas found its way to Aruba. A fine addition to any breakfast, or eaten on its own for a light meal, pan dushi is a delightful little sweet roll.
Pan Dushi (Recipe found at Caribbean Choice)
1 cup water
2 tbs yeast
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon almond flavoring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 teaspoons anise seeds *
1/4 lb raisins (golden)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons shortening**
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in 1 1/2 cup flour and let set about 15 minutes. Add vanilla, almond flavoring, and baking powder. Add margarine and anise seed. Add raisin and egg to yeast mixture. Add milk, salt, sugar, and enough flour until dough stops sticking to side of bowl (may be up to 4 1/2 cups).
Knead into soft dough. Place dough in greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down dough and shape into round rolls;
Place in greased baking pans. Let rise. (Large rolls could be about the size of softballs, while small rolls could be about the size of baseballs, after rising)
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with a mixture of brown sugar and a little water.
Note: We are sure the anise seeds taste wonderfully, however we omitted them as the family members who benefit from all these recipes would not eat the rolls. Being frugal we chose to omit them so that the family could enjoy the rolls, not letting them go to waste.
Note: We used butter flavored shortening.