• Mexican Conchas Buns. Photography: Adi Shilon.
    Mexican Conchas Buns. Photography: Adi Shilon.
  • Ilana Griczewski. Photo courtesy of the family.
    Ilana Griczewski. Photo courtesy of the family.
Recipe

Ilana Gritzewsky’s Mexican Conchas Buns

Their favorite dish: Ilana Gritzewsky immigrated from Mexico at the age of 16 and she loves to bake. Adi Shilon made her Mexican conchas buns

Ilana likes to curse in Spanish but each curse is said with a touch of love. Born and raised in Mexico, Ilana moved to Israel at the young age of 16. Today, Ilana’s father, his partner and her sister live in Israel while her mother and brother remained in Mexico. Whether in Israel or Mexico, the love Ilana and her parents have for each other is larger than life – even at 30 years old, she is her parent’s sweet little girl.

An unselfish giver, Ilana is the first to help her loved ones, and always ready with a listening ear and an open heart. A loyal and loving friend, Ilana is the girl you call in the middle of night. She is a natural baker with a bright future as a pastry chef. Her birthday cakes are particularly delicious and the chef serves them with a huge smile and a sparkle in her eye.

Two years ago Ilana moved to kibbutz Nir-Oz where she’s been living with her the love of her life Matan for the past year. On October 7th, the two were kidnapped by Hamas.

After 55 days in captivity, Ilana was released.

Ingredients for Conchas Buns

For the dough:

  • 1.1 lbs (500 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) Dry yeast
  • 4.6 oz (130 grams) Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (5 grams) Salt
  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) butter melted
  • 2 eggs Large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (again, I put cardamom. It's my signature)
  • 4.2 oz (120 grams) milk

For the coating:

  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) butter very soft
  • 3.5 oz (100 grams) Sugar
  • 4.2 oz (120 grams) white flour
  • 2 teaspoons (5 grams) Cocoa Powder (If you want to dye half brown. You can use cinnamon or some food coloring if preferable)

Instructions

  • 1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the kneading hook attachment, mix the flour and yeast. Add all the dough ingredients and knead on medium-low speed for about fifteen minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and soft. Add milk or flour if necessary. Set aside to rise in a warm place in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for about an hour and a half until doubled in volume.  

  • 2. Mix all the coating ingredients together until you reach a soft dough. If you want, remove half and add coloring agent. Separate into 15 equal portions and roll into balls.

  • 3. Divide the risen bun dough into 15 equal pieces and roll each piece into a nice smooth ball. Place on two oven trays and brush each ball with a little oil or butter.

  • 4. With floured hands, roll out each coating ball into a thin circle and cover each bun.

  • 5. Cut the coating with a knife into the shape of an oyster (this is how they do it in Mexico) or in any way you like. Cover and let rise for another hour and a half to two hours in a warm place.

  • 6. Heat the oven to 338F (170C) degrees turbo/fan/convection and bake for about twenty minutes until the bottom half of the bun (the dough) is golden brown. Turn the sheet tray halfway through the baking time. Serve hot.

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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