Hunting for Piggies: Puerquitos in Adams Morgan
Since moving to the District about a year ago, I've been on the hunt for puerquitos (which translates as "piggies"), a Mexican pastry that's somewhere between a cookie and a cake and full of molasses-y goodness. They were a favorite of mine when I lived in Chicago–I'd stop by my favorite panadería each day and pick up three at a time, for ninety cents apiece. But I've had a hard time finding them here, which I speculate is due to the fact that less than two percent of D.C. residents are Mexican. (By comparison, Mexicans account for nearly 20 percent of Chicago's population.)
My puerquito draught ended yesterday at Super Tacos & Bakery, at 1762 Columbia Road NW. I stopped there last Thursday and asked if they had puerquitos. Not today, I was told, mañana. I dutifully came back Friday, and still no dice: one of the definitions for mañana is "an indefinite time in the future," and I was beginning to think that's what they meant, instead of "tomorrow."
"We make them more often in the winter," the man behind the counter told me. "Come back on Monday." So that's what I did, my hopes tempered. But they had them, and here's what they looked like:
It's not shaped like a pig, obviously, but it's definitely a puerquito. I picked up three for $4.05. They had the same dense heft, cakey texture and molasses bite I remembered. I was lucky enough to get them while they were still warm, too. Tim Carman detected a sharpness upon tasting the pastry–"Is that ginger?" he asked. Despite the spot-on flavor and the fresh-out-of-the-oven warmth, though, I was still disappointed. They were overdone, the edges crispy despite being so fresh, and after an hour or so the middle hardened unappealingly, too.
So I tried baking my own, hoping for better results. I'll be recounting my endeavor for you tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Top image courtesy of joannasweb.net.