Day of the Dead, a Tasty Mexican Tradition!

Dia-de-los-muertos_Altar_Frida_Khalo_Diego-Rivera_corazon-de-melon

Dia de los muertos translates into “Day of the Dead”.

The tradition of celebrating Day of the Dead dates from Pre-Columbian times, when the natives of Mexico focused a great deal on the manner in which someone died and rituals were created to commune with the dead and deities from those ancient times. As often happens when two cultures meet, the Spaniards combined the native rituals with their own beliefs which produced a festival that assimilated the ideology, religion, art, agriculture and all the ingredients of the existing culture and resulted in our modern “Dia de los Muertos”.
In 2003 The Day of the Dead, was named by UNESCO as a patrimony intangible of humanity. It is a symbol of Mexico’s cult to the dead and the fascination for the unknown. It is a remembrance of life and the necessity to keep our bounds that seem so impossible to achieve and maintain when our loved ones depart. It is of great importance to remember and maintain these traditions of a rich and colorful culture. Mexico has a lot of good traditions to share with the world…

In Mexico, Day of the Dead is celebrated over three days starting October 31st. November 1 day of all saints, and November 2nd day of all souls. We celebrate the people who departed in hope that they might come back and visit to celebrate with us. And if they are coming all the way from a different dimension we better have some feast worth the trip!

Family altars are decorated with the remembered ones’ favorite foods, photographs, possessions,sugar skulls, drinks and flowers. Candles are placed to illuminate the way for a safe journey back home. This phenomenon it is assimilated with respect and irony, defying the dead as they laugh about her. With a sarcastic bitter-sweet humor Mexicans celebrate the ones that are no longer with us but with the biggest respect they built altars to commemorate them singing, drinking and praying. Now a days people also makes altars for their Favourite historical characters, artist, singers, anybody who means or have influenced in some way your life, or that you just simple admire.
Our Altar in the picture above is made for the 2 most representative artist in Mexico, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera which I admire the most.

Pan de Muerto is one of the elements that can not be missed on an altar, a bread that resembles a skull with bones. Enjoy it with a cup of hot cocoa, warmed up and sweeten up the memories of the ones that are no longer with us. It is a good excuse to make this delightful bread and maybe… acquire a tasty tradition…

And ofcourse you need some music to go with it… who is better than Chavela Vargas to accompany this recipe and also to sing to their friends…I hope you enjoy… This song talks about the simple things in life, about love and time…http://youtu.be/-mnZcErj-SA

DIa-de-muertos_Pan-de-Muerto-and-Sugar-skulls

PAN DE MUERTO

Makes 3 -6” round loaves or 4- 4” liltte round loaves.

Printing recipe at the end of the post

1 lb / 500 gr. unbleached all purpose flour* plus 1/2-3/4 of a cup more flour for dusting when shaping and  kneading. 
¾ cup / 200gr. Sugar.
¾ cup / 200 gr. Butter room temperature and cut into small chunks.
½ cup / 125ml. Whole milk
2 teaspoons dry active yeast or one little dry active yeast package of 7gr.
3 whole eggs
2 yolks, save the whites for egg wash later…
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange blossom water /extracto de flor de azhar
1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1 teaspoon ground mexican cinnamon
the zest of one small orange

For the Egg wash:
2 left over egg whites you saved when making the dough…
A dash of milk

Coming out of the oven:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Day one:

1. Measure and gather all your ingredients.

Pan-de-muerto_mise-in-place-ingredients
2. Start by warming the milk just about luke warm, add a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the yeast until bloom. About 10-15 minutes. The yeast should look foamy and creamy.
3. Meantime, on a clean flat surface make a “wheel” with the flour using your bowl to make a perfect circle.
4. Sprinkle the sugar around the flour wheel. In the center add the eggs, egg yolks, spices, extracts, anise, cinnamon, salt. Check on your yeast and if its ready add it to the center of the wheel. Mix all this ingredients using the tips of your fingers or a fork.

Pan-de-Muerto_-Flour-wheel
5. With your hand in a spider position, start incorporating little by little the flour from the edges. Be careful and gentle not to break the flour ring. Start in circular motions all around the inner flour circle until you have fully incorporated all the flour and almost all the sugar.

Pan-de-Muerto_incorporating-the-flour-and-liquids
6. Now using both hands start incorporating the butter. At this point you can decide, kneading the dough by hand for about 20-25 minutes, it is hard work, but I love the way the dough develops as the warm of your hands soften the dough and help the yeast making the dough smooth and shiny. This efforts shown when the bread is baked, it comes out with a tender finer crumb. The other option, using your mixer with a dough hook for about 10-15 minutes. Both routes work is just about preference and time. ~for me, the key to making a good dough is to feel the dough, that’s why I prefer to mix it by hand~
As dough is kneaded, you can add up to 1/2 cup more flour  if needed, if after kneading, the dough feels to sticky, sprinkle  1/4 cup  and knead, until your dough feels soft, moist, smooth,and has a shine to it. This dough is very easy to make and as soon the kneading develops the right texture you will know. It will feel soft and it looks a bit shiny, as you can see on the last picture below. So be patient, give the love and knead gently and confident that everything will come out  at the right time.

Pan-de-Muerto_kneading,-kneading

7. Once the dough is ready dust a large bowl with flour, place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place it in the refrigerator over night. I’ve tried different methods and the bread did not come out as tender and buttery as traditional good bread. 8 to 10 hours over night gives the right time for the dough to develop flavor.

Pan-de-muerto_Dough-texture

Day two:

1. Pull dough out of refrigerator, punch your dough and reshape kneading gently and briefely.
2.Flour a clean surface and cut into 4 equal parts. Shape each part using your hands creating a concave shape, gently surround the dough with your hand like a little cave, and gently, create circular motion with the dough rubbing against the table until you have formed a smooth round ball. Place each ball into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover gently with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour and a clean kitchen towel.

Pan-de-Muerto_Punching-and-shaping

Pan-de-Muerto_shaping-the-Bread
3. Shape 3 parts of the dough and save one to make the bones and skulls for the tops. Divide this ball into 6 stripes and 3 small 1” balls equal sizes.
4.With your fingers make a little cylinder strip and gently pressing in between your fingers make the bones. (see picture below)

Pan-de-Muerto_-Sahping_Bones-and-Skulls
5. Place the bone strips, forming a cross and then place the a small ball in the middle, flattening a little making sure it sticks with the rest of the dough.
6. Cover the tray with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour to prevent to stick. Let the bread rise for a second time for about 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. Once they are doubled apply the egg wash evenly.

Pan-de-Muerto_Egg-wash,-proofing-ready-for-the-oven!

7. Preheat the oven at 375F / 190C Place tray in the oven, and lower the temperature to 350F/ 175C .Bake for 25-30 minutes.Until golden brown and hollow sound.

8. Remove from oven, brush them with melted butter and drench in sugar. Cool bread on a rack. Prepare the hot cocoa, a cafe de olla and be ready to celebrate!

Pan-de-Muerto_sugar-dusting

Pan-de-Muerto_Dayof-the-dead

Pan-de-muerto_delicious-buttery-crumb!

Pan-de-muerto_with-coffe-od-hot-cocoa

Enjoy your Pan de Muerto and Celebrate life!

*   *   *

Altar dedicated to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Sugar-skulls_La-catrina_Frida-y-los-caudillos

Traditional Sugar skulls are made with sugar and in the shape of skulls. One of my favorites Mexican cartoonist illustrator artists is José Guadalupe Posada who is the autor of the Famous Calavera Catrina. If you want to know more about him: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/02/the-calaveras-of-jose-guadalupe-posada/

5 from 1 vote
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Sugar Skulls

www.yes-moreplease.com

How to make Sugar Skulls its easy and fun, you can decorate with sugar icing , sprinkles, candy, colored sugar crystals anything that rocks your imagination, have fun!


Course Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 2"x 3" small flat skulls

Ingredients

Royal Icing, for decorating:

  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder
  • 1-3 teaspoons warm water
  • 2-4 drops of natural food coloring of your choice, start with one drop at the time until you achieve the desired color saturation.

For the sugar skulls:

  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white, from a large egg

Instructions

  1. 1. Mix troughly until you have a mixture that resembles like sand.

    2. Using a plastic mold pack the sugar into the mold really well and level it. Un mold carefully placing a piece of tick cardboard behind the mold, flip and remove the plastic mold carefully. Place cardboard on top of a baking tray and Bake for at least 1 hour on 200F/90C. Remove from oven carefully. Leave  tray on a safe place and let them air dry for an extra day.

    3. Proceed and decorate with royal Icing and a little black coloring or melted dark chocolate.

    This sugar skulls are not meant to be eaten, it is just for decoration since they will just taste like plain sugar…But you are welcome to eat them if you have a strong sugar tooth, have fun!

    You can buy this awesome Guadalupe Posadas Skull Molds and many more on the following link: Mexican Sugar Skulls

posada2-catrina

Day of the Dead a Tasty Mexican Tradition

~ Viva la vida! ~

Music Pairing: Chavela Vargas “Las Simples Cosas”

5 from 1 vote
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Pan de Muerto

This recipe is traditional style, that bread that tastes buttery and the egg yolks give the color and richness to the bread. Anise and orange zest give this bread a unique aroma and flavor. The texture is soft and with a strong crumb to hold up dunking the bread in to a cup of hot cocoa! Enjoy!

www.yes-moreplease.com

Cuisine Mexican
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 lb /500gr. Unbleached all purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup more for dusting and kneading
  • 3/4 cup/200gr. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup/200gr. Butter, room temp and cut in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup/125gr. whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast, equivalent to 1 7gr.package.
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water/ extract de flor de azhar
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mexican cinnamon
  • 1 the zest of one small orange

Instructions

  1. DAY ONE:

    1. Measure and gather all your ingredients.

    2. Start by warming the milk just about luke warm, add a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the yeast until blossom. About 10-15 minutes. The yeast should look foamy and creamy.

    3. Meantime, on a clean flat surface make a “wheel” with the flour using your bowl to make a perfect circle.

    4. Sprinkle the sugar around the flour wheel.

    5. In the center add the eggs, egg yolks, spices, extracts, anise, cinnamon, salt.

    6. Check on your yeast and if its ready add it to the center of the wheel.

    7. Mix all this ingredients with a fork.

    8. With your hand in a spider position, start incorporating little by little the flour from the edges. Be careful and gentle not to break the flour ring.

    9. Start in circular motions all around the inner flour circle until you have fully incorporated all the flour and almost all the sugar.

    10. Now using both hands start kneading into the butter. And at this point you can decide, mixing your dough by hand for about 20-25 minutes (which is hard work but I love the way the bread comes out tender crumb and the warm of your hands will soften the dough making it really smooth and shiny. Or using your mixer with a dough hook for about 10-15 minutes. Both routes work is just about preference and time. The key to making a good dough is to feel the dough. That’s why I prefer to mix it by hand. You can add up to 1/2 cup more flour if needed, if after a bit of kneading it feels to sticky, sprinkle 1/4 cup and knead, until your dough feels soft, smooth, fluffy. This dough is very easy to make and as soon is the right texture you will know. It will feel not sticky and it looks a bit shiny, as you can see on the last picture below. So be patient, give the love and knead gently and confident that everything will come out at the right time.

    11. Once the dough is ready grease the inside of a bowl with butter and place the dough ball cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place it in a warm place over night. I’ve tried different methods and the bread did not come out as tender and buttery as traditional good bread. 10-12 hours over night is great. You can plan ahead and make it over the weekend. Wake up Sunday or Saturday and bake your bread and have it for breakfast with a cup of warm hot-cocoa or a coffee, cafe de olla.

    DAY TWO:

    For the Egg wash:

    1 egg slightly beaten, or those egg whites you saved when making the dough!

    a dash of heavy cream

    For the Glaze:

    1 teaspoon flour

    1/4 milk

    1 egg

    1/2 3/4 sugar for sprinkle the bread

    Directions:

    1. Punch your dough and reshape dough kneading gently and briefely.

    2. Dust with flour a clean surface and cut dough into 4 equal parts.

    3. Shape each part in circular motions. Until you have formed a round ball. Place it into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    4. Shape 3 parts and save one to make the bones and skulls for the tops. Divide this ball into 9 stripes and 3 small 1” balls equal sizes.

    5.With your fingers make a little cilinder and gently pressing in between your fingers make the bones. (see picture below)

    6. Brush the top of the bread with egg wash and then proceed to place the bone stripes, Egg wash it lightly.

    8. Cover the tray with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour to prevent to stick. Let the bread rise for a second time for about 30 minutes.

    9. Preheat the oven at 375F / 190C once the bread is in the oven lower it to 350F/ 175C and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    10. Remove from oven brush them with the flour glaze and top with sugar, bake for 5 more minutes. Pull them out of the oven check the center for doneness. Sprinkle a little more sugar on tops and cool them on a rack.

    Enjoy your well deserved Pan de Muerto and Celebrate life!

,

15 Responses to Day of the Dead, a Tasty Mexican Tradition!

  1. Kylie October 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    I live in England and my six year old son is intrigued by traditions of other countries, so we are having a Day of the Dead Feast. I have just made the dough for this bread, and even the dough tastes amazing! I am looking forward to baking it tomorrow!

    • Dylan November 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

      yea. This looks so amazing!!!!!!. I live in the U.S.A and am so ready to make this bread.

  2. Pierluca November 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Yo hice el mío con pétalos de cempasúchil y quedó espectacular. Gracias por esta receta!

    I baked mine with marigold petals and the result was spooktacular. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Mariana McEnroe September 1, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      Yes! those are the most traditional flowers!, Because they smell so good that they will allure the souls. as the tale says. Unfortunatelly I could not get fresh Cempazuchitl here in Texas where I live. I was to early!… But next year for sure! : )

  3. Adri November 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Me encantó (con la música de Chavela Vargas y todo)!! Ya quiero hacerlo! Desde hace unas semanas para aca he estado horneando mucho pan y este se ve super divertido. Siempre me pregunto como se supone que debe de estar la masa mientras hago pan, entonces que encanta que lo has documentado paso a paso. Gracias por compartir!

    • mariana_mcenroe November 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Adri! que bien te guste y si tienes alguna duda con gusto te puedo ayudar! me encanta Chavela! jajaja te pone en modo horneado!

  4. Jessica Gamboa November 14, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    Hay me encanto tambien!!!lo intentare hacer ya un poco tarde pero el antojo nos gana! Saludos.

    • Mariana McEnroe November 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Saludos Jessica, claro que si! este pan se antoja durante todo el invierno!jaajajja

    • mariana_mcenroe November 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      Claro que si Jessica! este pan se antoja durante todo el invierno! jajjaja

  5. Minerva Atenea Ojeda November 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    AhhH!!!, me encantó!!!

    • mariana_mcenroe November 4, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Mine!! que bueno que te gusto! ya pusiste tu altarcito!?… yo no pude conseguir flor de cempazuchitl, pero se le hacela lucha! LOL!

    • mariana_mcenroe November 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Mine!! que bueno que te gusto! ya pusiste tu altarcito!?… yo no pude conseguir flor de cempazuchitl, pero se le hacela lucha! LOL

  6. mariana_mcenroe October 28, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Ana!I’m glad you like it! let me know how it turns out!

  7. Ana Ferper October 26, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    It looks delicious! I ll make this!

    • mariana_mcenroe November 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Ana!I’m glad you like it! let me know how it turns out!

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