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Pan de Muerto recipe | Epicurious.com

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Pan de Muerto

Krystina Castella October 2010 A World of Cake 0/4

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© Renee Anjanette Photography

This yeast sweet bread, traditionally prepared for the Mexican Day of the Dead, is usually designed to look like crossbones and skulls. It's given as an offering to a family's ancestors, but it's labor-intensive to make, and it's delicious, so I would recommend that you make two batches: one for your ancestors to enjoy, and one for your family to eat.

Yield
Makes 6 to 8 individual-serving cakes

Ingredients

  1. Starter
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 eggs
  2. Dough
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    • Zest of 1 orange, grated
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 8 egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  3. Toppings
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup granulated or colored sugar

Preparation

  1. To Make the Starter:
    1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and eggs and beat for about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  2. To Make the Dough:
    1. When the starter has risen, give it a light blow to deflate it, and then break it into pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, butter, and orange zest. Beat in the flour and the eight egg yolks. Slowly mix in the water until the dough is slightly sticky but smooth. Add additional water or flour if needed.
    2. Lightly knead the dough on a floured work surface, then form it into a round dome. Butter and flour a mixing bowl and place the dough in it, cover, and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  3. To Shape:
    1. When the dough has risen, punch it down. Set aside one-quarter of the dough. Mound the remaining dough on a floured work surface. Press fist-size balls of dough into 6-inch rounds. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
    2. Count the number of dough rounds you have prepared, and divide the reserved dough into that number of parts. Shape each part into two bone-shaped logs, each roughly 7 inches long, pinching in the center so that the ends are wider than the middles. Set on a baking sheet and let rise until the cakes are done rising.
    3. When the dough has risen, set two bones on top of each round, intersecting in the middle to form a crossbones. Brush the cakes with the beaten egg yolks.
  4. To Bake:
    1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter two baking sheets. Transfer the cakes to the sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cakes are golden and springy. Open the oven door and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. To Serve:
    1. Remove the cakes from the oven. Brush the surface of each one with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar. Let cool before serving.
Variation: Rosca de Reyes (for the Day of the Dead)
Prepare the dough and shape into a ring, reserving some dough to make bones. Shape 5 bones, as described in the recipe, and top the ring with the bones, candied figs, and candied fruit strips.__

Excerpted from A World of Cake: 150 Recipes for Sweet Traditions from Cultures Near and Far by Krystina Castella. © 2010 by Krystina Castella. Published by Storey Publishing. Photography © Renee Anjanette Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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Nutritional Info

  • Calories1295
  • Carbohydrates187 g(62%)
  • Fat49 g(76%)
  • Protein26 g(51%)
  • Saturated Fat28 g(139%)
  • Sodium452 mg(19%)
  • Polyunsaturated Fat4 g
  • Fiber6 g(22%)
  • Monounsaturated Fat14 g
  • Cholesterol474 mg(158%)
per serving (6 servings) Powered by Edamam

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Mexican
Cake
Bake
Vegetarian
Latin American
Fall
Advance Prep Required

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