Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

For those of you who are unfamiliar, El Dia de los Muertos is celebrated every November 1 and 2 in Mexico to honor those who have passed away. 

Families set up altars with pictures of their deceased loved ones and decorated flowers, calaveras (top photo), and food and drinks galore. Growing up in San Antonio, we often acknowledged this tradition in school - especially Spanish class - by making decorations, writing stories and indulging on a little Pan de Muerto. For me, El Dia de los Muertos evokes memories of bright Mexican colors, fanciful sugar skulls, ornate altars and that tasty bread.

Thanks to AllRecipes we can all bake a loaf for ourselves this year:

Pan De Muerto

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar


  1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
  6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

If you are in San Antonio and want to get in on a little Dia de los Muertos action check out the calendar on Mysa.com for events going on all week.

All images courtesy of mysa.com

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