Monday, November 2, 2009

Bread of the Dead??? More than just a catchy rhyme!

I recently discovered that Nov. 2nd is considered the day of the dead. It's a huge day in Mexico where you celebrate the lives of those who have passed on by eating an assortment of yummy mexi-foods! Of course the first think I do is google recipes for the holiday to see what I can make! There was one thing that kept coming up... Sugar Skulls.... umm.... Sugar Skulls?!? How am I suppose to make large skulls made of sugar?!?... NEEEEEXT!!

So I decided on two things:

Numero uno: Pan de Muerto
Numero dos: Atole

So Pan de Muerto (let's call it Dead Bread) is a quasi-sweetened roll of bread that is often put into a shape of a skull. Great... so I suck at baking and I have zilch artistic skills. But as I always say, you can't stop me!! Atole is a warm and thick drink made with corn meal and sweetened with sugar and vanilla. So let's check out the recipes!!

Dead Bread Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp anise seed
  • 4 tbsp sugar (I use Truvia)
Directions: Warm up the butter, milk, and water in a sauce pan until it is warm but not boiling. In a separate bowl add 1 cup of the flour, yeast, sugar, and anise seed. In the dry mix add the warm buttermilk mix and stir until mixture is even. Add 1/2 cup of the flour and mix... and keep adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time until it is all gone. Then you'll knead that mother like you've never kneaded before, place the dough in a greased bowl, and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours. If you are favored by the dead, your dough will double in size. If you are not liked and most likely will be haunted, your dough will suck and not rise. Thank the sweet lord that mine doubled in size!!! Next you punch the air out of the dough and make whatever shapes you want! I decided to make two skull and crossbone designs and let me tell you... they were sad looking!! For sure I would have several mexis rolling in their graves if they saw my sad skull faces. So after you shape the dough, cover them up, pre-heat the oven to 350, and then cremate that Dead Bread for 35 minutes.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp imitation vanilla (or real vanilla beans if you have them)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla pudding mix (this is my addition)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used splenda)
No need for directions on this one because basically you heat everything in a sauce pan over medium heat and keep stirring it until it becomes thick. The recipe I found also said you can mince 1/2 cup of strawberries and add it to the mixture after it has thickened.

Of course I needed a main mail to go along with my deceased food so after consulting with a Mexi friend I decided on making Chiles Rellenos. I've never made it before but I've stuffed various veggies like red bell peppers and onions so I figured it would be the same. I decided to stuff it with tuna and yellow mung bean (of course spiced up a little). And to garnish the chiles I made some homemade salsa with onions, tomatoes, and a tons of cilantro (That's how I like my salsa!!!)

So how did it all turn out?!?!

Although the Dead Bread has the dead laughing and pointing their bony rotting fingers at me, everything turned out really good!! I put an orange syrup over the bread for a little citrusy flavor and I made both regular Atole and Strawberry Atole. The Atole was by far my favorite! Nothing like a nice warm drink to celebrate those with cold dead skin! So there you have it! So to all those in celebration of the dead and the dead themselves, I leave you with one message...

Enjoy :)