Día de los Muertos is coming up in a few days where November 1st is recognized as Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Angels), and November 2nd is known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). During these days, families of those who have departed get together to celebrate life, and the return of their spirits to earth.
On the days leading up to Día De los Muertos, altars are set up for family members who have passed. These altars are usually adorned with pictures of the deceased, sugar skulls with their name on them, their favorite dishes, marigolds, a glass of water, and Pan de Muerto to name a few things.
Pan de Muerto has ties to Christianity, and it symbolizes the eucharist, because the bread bears the cross on the top. Other times Pan de Muerto is topped with sesame seeds to represent the tears of the deceased souls that haven’t been able to find peace.
When I was brainstorming what to contribute to Sara’s #VirtualPumpkinParty, I started thinking about the Empanada Festival that happened outside of our hotel during our recent trip to Mexico. At night, the entire jardín was filled with local bakers selling their empanadas. Some of the empanadas were sweet, and others were savory but all equally delicious. I was originally set on making empanadas until I realized this would be a good opportunity to show you guys how to make Pan de Muerto filled with pumpkin butter in anticipation of the holiday.
Check out some of the other contributions by searching #VirtualPumpkinParty across social media, or check out some of my favorite recipes like Brett’s Pumpkin Granola which I’ll probs be making every day until Christmas, or Billy’s Pumpkin Butterscotch Sauce you’ll want to bathe in and Adrianna’s cozy af Pumpkin Chai Scones.
Pumpkin Butter Pan de Muerto
Makes 5 individual loafs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
3 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons vanilla
5 tablespoons of pumpkin butter (Wit&Vinegar has a really good recipe)
1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of water
5 tablespoons Turbinado cane sugar
In a saucepan, heat the buttermilk and butter over low heat, just until the butter melts, and set aside. If you’re not using instant yeast now’s the time to sprinkle the active dry yeast over the warm mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, sugar, instant yeast, salt, and cinnamon. Beat the eggs and vanilla into the milk mixture then add it to the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and let it go until the dough comes together, you might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure all the flour gets in there.
Once it’s all mixed together turn the mixer to medium and let it go for about a minute to knead. Put the dough into a bowl lightly greased with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 6 equally sized pieces, about the size of a baseball, and set one aside. Take the other 5 of the balls of dough and stretch each one out in the palm of your hand, fill with a tablespoon of pumpkin butter and wrap them up and pinch closed. Place the pinched side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using the 6th ball of dough, pinch off small pieces and roll out ropes and smaller balls to make a cross with the ball in the center. Lightly wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for an hour.
Lightly brush on the egg wash and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.