Pan de los Muertos (Day of the dead bread)
Prep time: 14 hours, Cook time: 45 minutes, Makes 2 round loaves, 10 servings
This recipe is taken from “The Taste of Mexico” by Patricia Quintana (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).
Note: Prep time includes both rise times.
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 to 1 ounce dry yeast
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 egg yolks
1 cup butter
1/2 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
2 tablespoons orange blossom extract
3 tablespoons anise extract
7 1/2 tablespoons milk
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
2 egg yolks
Sugar to taste
Chopped crystallized fruit for garnish (optional)
To prepare the dough: Put warm water in a glass bowl. Add yeast, stirring to dissolve. Set aside in a warm spot near the stove. Add 6 to 8 tablespoons flour to yeast and water to form a stiff dough. Set aside again in a warm spot until doubled in volume.
In a separate bowl, sift remaining flour and sugar. Add salt, 3 eggs, 7 egg yolks, butter, lard, orange peel, orange blossom and anise extracts, and 6 1/2 tablespoons milk. Mix well and knead briefly.
Add yeast mixture and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased glass bowl and spread a little butter on the surface. Cover dough with a dish towel and set aside in a warm spot for 12 hours or until doubled in volume.
Knead briefly again. From the dough, pinch two 2-inch balls, eight 2-inch strips and eight 1-inch balls. Divide remaining dough in half. Roll into 2 circles 6 inches in diameter. Place circles on a greased baking sheet.
Beat together 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk. Brush circles with egg mixture. Place 2-inch ball in center of each circle and decorate circumference with 1-inch balls and strips. Allow bread to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 30 to 40 minutes.
To prepare the glaze: Put flour, water, egg yolks and egg in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens to consistency of heavy cream. Brush freshly baked bread with glaze. Sprinkle bread with sugar and return to oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with more sugar. Allow to cool.
To serve, place (loaves of) bread on platters. Decorate with crystallized fruits, if desired. Serve with hot chocolate.
Per serving: 486 cal.; 9 g pro.; 30 g carb.; 36 g fat (19 sat., 13 monounsat., 4 polyunsat.); 380 mg chol.; 165 mg sod.; 1 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 68 percent calories from fat.
Source: Sacramento Bee newspaper, 2001