For the past I-don’t-even-know-how-many years, my family and I have hosted a Halloween party for our friends and their kids. It’s a potluck and I make chili and soup for the adults and quesadillas or pasta for the kids. This year we’ve turned it up a notch thanks to Abuelita and Nescafe. I was invited to a Día de los Muertos party at NESTLÉ headquarters in Glendale where I learned how to make a Día de los Muertos altar taught by craft goddess Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano-Murillo. Plus we made went into the NESTLÉ kitchen to make Pan de Muertos, a traditional bread for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Kathy had the altars already put together and painted so the group of bloggers just had to decorate them. I started with the kit at the top right and then added puffy paint, the heart and a lot of glitter. At home, I added more glitter and the picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It’s going to be the centerpiece of our Halloween party. I’m not crafty so this was quite a treat for me.
The best part of the day was learning the history of Día de los Muertos. It was not a holiday that my Mexican-American family honored growing up, but one that is heavily celebrated in Los Angeles. NESTLÉ is a sponsor of the 14th Annual Día de los Muertos event at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I hear that it’s spectacular and I can’t wait to attend on Saturday, Nov. 2.
In addition to the altar, I’ll be adding Pan de Muertos to the dinner menu. I don’t usually make bread because my husband has Celiac and can’t have gluten and I eat gluten-free, but my two boys eat bread. I brought the bread home from the event and they absolutely loved it. I was intimidated by the yeast and the steps, but it turned out to be fairly simple and delicious. Here is the recipe provided by NESTLÉ.
Pan de Muertos Instructions:
- (Makes 1 loaf, 10 servings)
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- Standing Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
Making Pan de Muertos
- ½ packet (3.5 g) active-dry yeast
- ¼cup warm water (100-110 ? F)
- ¼ cup NESTLE? LA LECHERA Sweetened Condensed Milk
- ¼cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon anise seeds
- ¼teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 ¼cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Stir yeast and warm water in a large glass bowl; allow to rest 10 minutes. Heat La Lechera and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add anise seeds, salt and La Lechera mixture to yeast mixture and stir to combine.
2. Add eggs and 1 cup flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Continue adding remaining flour, cup by cup, stirring well until dough comes together. Knead dough gently for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place in large greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Punch dough down. Cut 3 small (about 1 tablespoonful) balls from loaf. Roll out 2 dough balls to form the “bones”. Shape the larger dough into a round loaf. Gently press the bones on top of the loaf crossing each other to make an “X”. Roll the remaining small dough ball to form the “skull”. Put skull in middle of the “X” and gently press down. Place loaf on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in warm place for about 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350o F. Brush top of loaf with egg wash.
6. Bake for 20 minutes; remove loaf from oven and brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Return to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Serve warm or cool completely. Best eaten the same day prepared.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, but I was treated to a day at NESTLÉ that included crafts, cooking, and a gift bag. All opinions are my own.