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Mexico Inspired Recipes

Recipes Inspired by Mexico
Pan de Muerto

With Day of the Dead fast approaching in Mexico, it's time to get your ingredients together for a traditional Pan de Muerto, meaning "Bread of the Dead".

Pan de Muerto 

During this dark yet colorful holiday held in the first days of November, Mexican families set up altars in their homes in honor of deceased loved ones. These altars are covered in marigold flowers, candles and food that the late family members loved when they were alive. Pan de Muerto is one item that can be found on every altar as well as at Day of the Dead parties across Mexico, so head into your cocina and learn to make this famous holiday treat!


  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ ounce active dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • Vegetable oil for the bowl


  • Pour the sugar, anise seed, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl.
  • Heat the milk, butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture, then beat with a wire whisk.
  • Stir in the eggs along with 1 ½ cups of flour and beat.
  • Little by little, add the rest of the flour while stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.
  • Lay the dough out on a lightly floured wood board.
  • Knead the dough until it's smooth and no longer sticky, which will probably take about 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm area until it has reached double its size: about 90 minutes.
  • Heat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it in half.
  • Cut 3 small, 1-ounce balls from each half to mold into bone shapes along with a small ball of dough to represent the skull.
  • Shape your 2 remaining large pieces of dough into round loaves, and place the bone and skull decorations on top.
  • Set your loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise for another hour.
  • Glaze the loaves with the egg yolk mixture, then bake.
  • Halfway through baking (about 20 minutes), take the loaves out of the oven and reapply the egg yolk mixture, then sprinkle each loaf with granulated sugar.
  • Place the loaves back in the oven for approximately 20 more minutes, until the loaves have a golden brown color. You can tap them to see if they sound hollow to make sure they're ready.




 Laura Winfree

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging for a major Playa del Carmen Real Estate brokerage, and also does other writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Cancun nightclubs and weekly beach trips throughout the Riviera Maya are her favorite parts of living in Mexico.

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:22 AM by Carlos Martínez
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