i've always really liked the holiday on the first of november.
'dia de todos os santos', we call it.
gathering at my grandparents' for lunch with my cousins, homemade food and 'papas de abóbora', then it was half austere remembering of our gone beloved ones, heading to the cemetery (and, to me, a lot of philosophic thinking, which i (scarily!) have been practicing since a too young age)... and half excitement because november is just my favourite month of the year ;)
but today i'm not doing all the talking.
today i invited my friend Laura for a guest post!
Laura is from Mexico, where the 1st of november is pretty important.
you likely have heard about 'dia de los muertos'.
if not, i can't help but quote a bit of one of my favourite contemporary brittish writers:
'Once, when I was very young, my mother took me to Mexico City, to see the Aztec ruins
and to celebrate the Day of the Dead. I loved the drama of it all: the flowers and the pan
de muerto and the singing and the sugar skulls. But my favourite was the piñata, a painted
papiermâché animal figure, hung all over with firecrackers and filled with sweets, coins and
small, wrapped presents.
The object of the game was to hang up the piñata over a doorway and to throw sticks and
stones at it until it split open, releasing the presents inside.
Death, and a gift – all in one.'
joanne harris, 'the lolipop shoes' (sequel to 'chocolat')
well today you get the opportunity to learn more about it from a mexican!
plus get a 'day of the dead' recipe!
and if you'ld like to ask something just leave a comment, i'm sure Laura won't mind answering ;)
(and now it's time for me to stop talking!)
For Mexicans, All Saint’s day is a quite special date. Traditionally, we bring flowers to the cemetery and get together to celebrate the death in a way. This may sound a little creepy but the truth is that we believe that our beloved dead pass by to visit us during this holiday. Therefore, we prepare an altar with traditional food, the food they loved, candles, flowers, sweets, fruit, many many colors and our traditional Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead) to welcome them.
All around Mexico you would find a million ways to build altars and they will be everywhere, in churches, schools and homes. This celebration tends to be cheerful and a great chance to get together with family and friends while enjoying the bread dipped in a cup of hot chocolate.
(I asked Laura to share the recipe for the bread, and you should definitely make some hot chocolate to dip it in. It is delicious by itself but the combination is great! I heard it is not that easy to make but the ones she did for us were perfect!!)
Pan de Muerto
('pão dos mortos')
500g de farinha
200g de manteiga
125g de açúcar
15g de fermento seco
Retirar a manteiga do frigorífico para ficar à temperatura ambiente,
Misturar o fermento com uma colher de sopa de farinha e alguma água morna,
Deixar coberto por um pano até formar bolhas (cerca de 10-15 minutos),
Verter a farinha numa superfície plana e formar uma cova no centro,
Deitar nesta cova 4 ovos, a manteiga em pedaços, o açúcar e a mistura de fermento,
Amassar tudo até a massa ficar completamente homogénea,
Formar uma bola e colocar numa taça coberta com um pano num local morno por 2 horas para que levede,
Formar os pequenos pães, colocar num tabuleiro de forno forrado com papel vegetal e deixar repousar mais uma hora ou até duplicarem de tamanho,
Ligar o forno a 180ºC,
Bater o ovo restante com um bocadinho de água e pincelar os pães com este,
Levar ao forno até estarem acastanhados (cerca de 10-15 minutos),
Retirar do forno e pincelar com manteiga derretida,
Polvilhar com açúcar,
Pan de Muerto
('bread of the dead')
15g dried yeast
15g dried yeast
Take the butter out of the fridge to have it temperated.
Mix the yeast with a spoonful of flour and some warm water.
Leave it covered with a cloth until it bubbles (around 10-15 min).
Put the flour in a flat surface and make with your hand like a hole in the middle.
Put in the hole: 4 of the eggs, the butter in pieces, the sugar and the yeast mixture.
Mix altogether until completely coupled.
Make a ball out of it and put it in a bowl covered by a cloth for 2 hours in a warm place so that it grows.
Give shape to the little breads, put them in a baking tray with baking paper and leave them 1 more hour or until they double their size.
Set the oven to 180° C.
Mix the egg that is left with a little bit of water and varnish the breads with a brush.
Put in the oven until they look brownish (Around 10-15 min.)
Take them out of the oven and varnish them with melted butter.
Dip them in sugar.
by Laura Altamiranos