Mi Huerta Market
October 19, 2017
Dia de Los Muertos
Halloween is a non-denominational celebration that takes place all over the world. It’s an easy way to get friends and family together to dress up as their favorite action hero, Disney character or even create something unique to show off! It’s a great time to really use the Fall season to its advantage. The weather is cooler, leaves have fallen and everyone is in higher spirits. I hope you caught that! But, Halloween brings people together for a night of fun and candy. You get to escape from everyday life for one night and run around town knocking on doors and saying, “Trick or Treat”. It’s a special event that takes place every year and we all know why- it’s hard to top. Halloween is like a door to another dimension and anyone who enters is embracing the world of make-believe! It’s all fun and games and has no real purpose but to just let people be someone else for a day and party the night away, or eat candy. Because of this, another event takes place directly after. Some even disregard Halloween because they feel it’s taking away from their primary tradition, also known as, Dia de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead.
Neither joyous nor somber, per se, the Day of the Dead is a holiday that’s all about remembering loved ones who have passed on, and is definitely a time of reflection. “There’s definitely peace associated with the feelings of remembering people, remembering your family, and connecting with your current family members or your friends”, according to an individual who was born and raised in Mexico City. In my opinion, what a beautiful way to show your love for past family members and friends. It’s a way to look back on good times with good people and be thankful for the life you have.
In Mexico City, the typical snack sold at bakeries and supermarkets during this time is called pan de muerto, “bread of the dead,” a puffed, sugar-dusted, orange-flavored bread. This food can be made using orange zest and orange extract but we wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they tried the recipe with our Mi Huerta Vanilla extract instead! You could make a combination and be the genius who came up with two to-die-for items. Did you catch that joke? On a roll here! Below is a quick recipe for the pan de muerto. We respect those who celebrate this holiday and hope you can understand why. It’s a holiday people take seriously and love showing their culture in as well. The beauty and culture of people who still follow the way of life their ancestors showed them and believe in similar things they once did.
We hope you enjoyed this quick piece on Dia de Los Muertos and if you get chance, make sure you try the recipe and see why it’s the essential addition to the holiday itself. Enjoy.
Pan De Muerto
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup milk
½ cup water
5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 packages active-dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange extract (and/or our Mi Huerta Vanilla)
Zest of one orange
Orange glaze (see below) (optional)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm butter, milk, and water; until butter has melted. Do not let boil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup of flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, and sugar. Slowly beat in the warm milk, orange extract, and orange zest until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing through. Slowly add in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding additional flour until the dough is soft but not sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured board and knead for at least 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is dry add some water and if it’s too wet add some flour. Form the dough into a large ball and cut into four even pieces.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place three dough balls on it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Reserve the fourth dough ball to make bones to place over the loaves. Reserve this dough in the refrigerator to slow down the rising process.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake bread for approximately 25 to 30 minutes. When the bread is done it should sound “hollow” when thumped.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, orange zest, and orange juice; bring just to a boil so the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Remove loaf from the oven and brush with the Orange Glaze.
Another option is to melt two tablespoons of butter in a small pot. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven brush with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over them. YUM
Let the bread cool down and enjoy with a cup of Champurrado or cafecito.