Dia de los Muertos is Just Around the Corner and Hilton’s Mexico Resorts Want to Help you Celebrate
With Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) around the corner on November 1 – November 2, Hilton’s All-Inclusive resorts want to help you celebrate by sharing some recipes that are traditionally served during the festive Mexican holiday. Offering travelers elevated food and beverage, world-class hospitality and unique local culture, Hilton’s growing resorts in Mexico, specifically Hilton Playa del Carmen, An All-Inclusive Resort and Hilton Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort (opening November 7), are helping you celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in an authentic way.
Recipes for authentic Pan de Muertos, a traditional sweet bread feasted on throughout the holiday, as well as Mexican Hot Chocolate, a popular drink served around the country are below.
In addition, they are sharing tips for celebrating and building the cornerstone of the holiday, an ofrenda, a traditional altar used to remember loved ones.
Pan de Muertos
Chef Luis Parra – Hilton Playa del Carmen, An All-Inclusive Adults Only Resort
INGREDIENTS – yields 4 pieces
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ tablespoons Active Dry yeast
- 1 pinch of sugar to ferment yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup condensed milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- Dissolve the yeast and the pinch of sugar in the warm water and let it rest for 5 minutes or until it ferments.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, the eggs, the condensed milk, the salt, the vanilla, orange zest, and the yeast. Use a mixer and begin to beat at low speed until the mixture gains body. If you do it by hand, simply use a large bowl, pour the flour and add the rest of the ingredients one by one and in small amounts, and start mixing.
- Continuing to mix – slowly, add the butter in small soft dice, alternating with the sugar. Beat the mixture for 10-15 minutes, until the butter is fully incorporated. The dough should be sticky, but it should hold its shape while in a ball without spilling to the sides.
- Grease a large bowl with butter and let the dough rest there, covered with plastic or cloth, for 3 to 4 hours or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knead lightly and divide the dough into 5 equal parts. You can use a scale to be more accurate. Separate a fifth and stiffen it a little by adding more flour and reserve.
- With the other 4 parts, form the very compact bread balls and place them on previously greased trays, let them rest for 30 more minutes. You will notice that they expand a bit and lose their smoothness.
- While you let the four balls rest, use the fifth part of the dough that you reserved, to form the “bones” and balls that will go in each loaf. Roll out eight long thin pieces as the bones and small balls to go on each end. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the balls of dough and the bones have rested enough, glaze the loaves with a little water to serve as glue and put on the loaves as seen in the picture. Let sit for 2 more hours, or until they double again.
- Bake at (350 °F) for 18-20 minutes until the surface is golden brown.
- When the breads come out, let them cool for about 10 minutes and then, using a small brush, brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar to taste. Enjoy!
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Chef Luis Parra – Hilton Playa del Carmen, An All Inclusive Adults Only Resort
- 1 ½ cups Mexican melting chocolate
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 4 cups milk (soy, almond, oat, etc.)
- 1 cinnamon stick or pinch of cinnamon
- 1.5 oz Tequila (optional)
- Roughly chop or grate Mexican chocolate and set aside.
- Over low heat, bring four cups of milk in a small saucepan to a gentle boil.
- Mix in the chocolate and honey stirring frequently with a molinillo, globe beater, or whisk until dissolved and foam is generated.
- Remove from heat. While chocolate is hot and frothy, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with pan de muerto.
- Optional: Add 1.5 ounces of your favorite tequila for a delicious, spiked version.
How to Celebrate an Authentic Día de los Muertos at Home
Alejandra Vela, Guest Experience Manager – Hilton Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort
“At home, we create altars, ofrendas, to honor our deceased loved ones. In graveyards, we gather with our family and clean the graves of our loved ones, then we decorate them with flowers, photos, candles, food & drinks. We stay up all night in the graveyards, sharing stories and anecdotes of our dead ancestors. During this time, it is believed that the deceased return to their earthly homes to visit and celebrate with their loved ones.”
To create your own ofrenda, find a place in your home where you can welcome in your departed loved ones. A desk, table, any flat surface will work!
The most traditional ones consist of seven levels and have the following items, among others:
- A cherished picture of the departed to give their spirit a place to visit.
- Candles and incense are to light the spirits way home
- Flowers, usually orange or yellow marigolds to celebrate life
- The departed’s favorite food and items, their favorite drinks, books or mementos are a great place to start
- Pan de Muertos, a sweet bread designed to resemble the shape of skull and crossbones for hungry souls to enjoy
- Water and a spirit to quench thirst upon arrival and salt to protect the spirit while they visit
- Sugar skulls represent the sweetness of the life of the departed and the offerings they receive at the altar
- Papel picado or colorful perforated paper is often hung in the house or near the ofrenda. The thin tissue paper is believed to represent the delicate nature of life, while the holes allow a way for souls to travel through and visit
Once you have created your ofrenda, gather your loved ones and use it as a place to remember your ancestors. Keep an eye out for celebrations of the holiday in your area to see the beautiful costumes and face paint that characterize the candlelit processions that help welcome spirits home.