I am a little late but we finally had my Dia de los Muerto meal last night and it was great! Red rice, refried beans and tamales. It was as authentic tasting as you can get this close to Canada, with one exception, the method of wrapping.
Traditionally tamales are wrapped in a corn husk before steaming. It’s 50/50 whether or not I get those to turn out. This time I cut parchment paper squares and filled them just as I would a corn husk, it worked so well! I did still put the husk in the bottom of my steamer (my metal colander and soup pot). I don’t know that I will fill the corn husks again until I am trained by a little Mexican grandma.
The tamales filling is rehydrated Ancho peppers, garlic, onion and chicken, wrapped in a masa paste if you will. They were then topped with a green sauce, made with tomatillos and pablano peppers. Delicious! The red rice was made with brown rice, pureed tomatoes, celery and onion. I make my refried beans with lard or bacon fat, pinto beans and some spices. My tamales and green sauce recipes can be found at the bottom.
As I mentioned previously, I had hoped to make Pan de Muerto for Dia de los Muerto. The first round didn’t work. They looked nice and where the density of a hockey puck. I tried the recipe again, this time with none of my own changes. Again I had lovely, golden brown, sugar-coated hockey pucks. The third try, I made a few of my own changes again- the recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, to the 7 cups of flour. I’m pretty sure that’s where the density problem lies. That recipe turned out a little better but still not good. I then tried it with new yeast, thinking maybe my yeast had gotten old.
I have decided that recipe is wrong and will not be trying that one again. From what I can see the dough is a sweet dough, that is rich with butter and eggs. Something similar to brioche or challah. This bread is driving me too crazy to wait for next year to try again. I am making my own recipe now.
I finally came up with something edible. However, I didn’t realize it would almost quadruple in size, so I still ended up with an ill-shaped, basketball loaf of bread. It needs work and for now will wait until after the holidays. I have a deer hide to tan and Christmas baking that needs to begin are just a couple things on the never ending list of things to do.