Yesterday I made one of Mexico’s favorite sweet breads (pan dulce). Conchas (meaning “shell” in Spanish) are enriched, lightly sweet yeast rolls with a “shell-like” crunchy streusel topping, similar to a cookie dough. The golden surface of the egg-washed roll is revealed through the cracks during baking.
The scallop shell is an ancient Christian symbol of baptism and the start of the Christian journey toward heaven. A pilgrim who journeyed the Santiago path, Yaz Rooney, explains that “The Scallop Shell has many grooved lines that lead from the outer rim to a meeting point at the base. The shell itself represents the many different spiritual and religious pathways that lead to the same place, to the universal centre of all life-forms, the spirit, the soul. When pilgrims carry the Scallop Shell it represents our personal journey, the sacred path that we must take within. The Scallop Shell reminds us why we are walking, especially at the points when the journey feels too hard and we want to give up. It reminds us that we are all ultimately one sacred soul, and that each of our roads are leading back to each other.”