In Mexico and Spain on Halloween, they have a whole festival called Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). During this festival, people make an altar and decorate it with paper, candles, Cepesuchil flowers and food offerings. People also place down traditional Day of the Dead food such as; Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), Sugar skulls, Tacos and the favourite dishes of their deceased loved ones.

If you are thinking of having a party, here are four recipes for you to enjoy this all hallows-eve, inspired by the Day of the Dead Festival.

STARTER

PAN DE MUERTO
Translated literally as “bread of the dead”, an important element in the annual celebration.

MAINS

DAY OF THE DEAD BEEF TACOS
Traditional tacos made with onions, tomatoes, green chilli pepper and skirt steak.

DAY OF THE DEAD SKULL PIZZA
If you wanna get your kids involved then making skulled shaped pizza would be great.

DESSERT

SUGAR SKULL COOKIES
These rich cookie skulls covered with a dusting of powdered sugar are a fun take on the classic sweet treat.

PAN DE MUERTO

Ingredients:

4 ounces butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar (white)
3 teaspoons aniseed (whole)
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour (white bread or all-purpose), divided
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups warm water (not to exceed 110 F)
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 (1/4-ounce) packets instant dry yeas

Method:

In the mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, aniseed, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. Use a dough hook to mix the ingredients together. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and orange zest. Add this to the mixer bowl, along with another 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix until combined. Add the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour, mixing to combine. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing between, until dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead it for 1 minute. Cover it with a clean, damp dishcloth and let it rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Separate about 1/4 of the dough and use it to make bone shapes* to drape across the loaf. Shape the rest of the dough into a flat-bottomed semi-sphere. Position the bone shapes on the top of the loaf and press gently so they adhere. Let the dough rise for an additional hour. Bake the loaf in a 350 F oven for about 40 minutes. Cool and glaze, if desired, before serving. Cut into large wedges for eating by hand.

DAY OF THE DEAD BEEF TACOS

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped
1 lb skirt steak, cut into long thin pieces
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt, to taste
1 can (8 oz) tomato puree
3 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup water
Corn tortillas, as needed
Fresh cilantro, finely chopped, as a garnish
Chopped onion, as a garnish

Method:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and peppers for 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add beef and garlic, and cook until the meat no longer looks red. Season with ground cumin and salt, to taste. Add tomato puree, tomatoes and water. Cover the frying pan and lower the heat. Let simmer, stir occasionally and let cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is completely cooked and tender. Serve about 3 spoonful’s of beef inside the warm tortillas. Garnish with cilantro, onions and lemon.

DAY OF THE DEAD SKULL PIZZA

Ingredients:

1 box Enjoy Life pizza crust
pizza sauce of choice
1 c. nondairy cheese, shredded

VARIETY OF VEGGIES:
black olives, sliced and chopped
mini bell peppers, sliced
capers
red onion, thinly sliced
baby tomatoes, sliced
jalapenos, sliced
cilantro

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whip up the pizza crusts according to the directions on the box (you will need 1 1/4 c. water and 1 Tbsp. oil). Once you have created two dough balls, place one of the balls in the centre of one of the baking sheets. Starting from the centre, flatten out the dough ball with your hands, creating a crust that is in the shape of a skull. It should be approx. 10-12″ in length. Repeat for the other dough ball. Bake each pizza for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Spread the pizza sauce out on both skulls and sprinkle with cheese. Assemble the desired veggies over the cheese to create a fun Day of the Dead skull design. Bake each pizza for another 10-12 minutes or until the nondairy cheese melts to your liking.

SUGAR SKULL COOKIES

Ingredients:

COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

OPTIONAL:
Pinch of citrus zest for flavouring
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Method:

Dries: Whisk flour and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Base: In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Next, add eggs, vanilla and optional flavourings of citrus zest or spices (ie: cardamom). Gradually, add dries to base just until incorporated. Chill in refrigerator up to one hour. Roll on a lightly floured surface. Cut shapes. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Note: When you cut into a shape, chill in the freezer to set. Then, transfer directly to hot oven.

Tip: Once you cut your cookies into your desired shapes, wrap and place in freezer. Then, bake off the next day. Move from freezer to oven and the shapes will retain their integrity during the baking process.