Feliz Día de Muertos: Celebrando con Mi Ofrenda de Jane Austen

Hoy es Dia de Los Muertos y yo honrando Jane Austen. Lo siento mi Espanol es no bueno. Lucho con Gramática del español

Today is Day of the Dead and I am honoring Jane Austen. Being biracial I love blending of cultures, and thought this year I would blend my background with my love of Jane Austen. I wanted to do a larger, and let’s be honest, more impressive altar, but I just moved and haven’t had a chance to unpack my belongings as my new place needed some extra work done.

If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know this, but for all you who have started following me recently, I am biracial, being half Mexican.

As I am of Mexican descent I celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, and thought this year I would honor Jane Austen. For those of you who might not know of the holiday, I am going to go over a brief history, share how to make your own altar, and how to make pan de Muerto (bread of the dead).

Van y Vienen

Y las ves pasar

Bailan por ahí

Platican por allá…

Es su día

Y van a festejar

They’re coming and they’re going

And you see them passing by.

They’re dancing over here,

They’re chatting over there…

It’s their day

And they’re going to have a good time.

Some people hear day of the dead or see the calaveras (skulls) and think it is a scary holiday; but it is a very sweet and pleasant one. It is a time to gather with your family or friends and remember those who have passed on. Typically one would make an ofrenda, or altar, for a deceased family member, but you can make one for anybody you would like to honor that is no longer with us.

Dia de Los Muertos is an ancient tradition that started in Mexico. Dia de Los Muertos begins on November 1st and ends on November 3rd. The first day, November 1st, is Dia de los Angelitos, when one honors and remembers the children that have passed on. The legend is that their spirits are granted 24 hours on which to reunite with their families. Often on these ofrendas one will leave their favorite toys, games, and food.

November 2nd is Día de los Difuntos, honoring the adults that have passed on. People will lay their favorite things on the altar; along with Pan de Muerto, tequila, and atole. People will talk, laugh, and share stories about their loved ones.

November 3rd is Día de los Muertos, the day that the whole community would get involved, have parades, people dress up as Catrina, etc.


Calaveras (Skulls)

There are a few particular symbols associated with Dia de Los Muertos. First is the calaveras, the skills, which will be made out of sugar, foam, paper, or painted on someone’s face. The skulls are always smiling as they laugh at death (they no longer have any fear as they have moved on) and are happy to be with their families again. The skulls are also a memento mori, reminding us that we too will die-but in this case they are a cheerful reminder; letting us know that we will all be together again someday.

Most celebrations will have Flor de Muerto, flowers of the dead, which are bright Orange and red marigolds. Marigolds symbolize beauty, the fragility of life, and are used as a way to make a path to guide the dead.


La Catrina

Another symbol of Dia de Los Muertos is La Catrina. Even though the calacas figures (Day of the Dead skeletons) were a part of Dia de Los Muertos, the Catrina figure used today has only been around for about 100 years. José Guadalupe Posada was a controversial Mexican artist who liked to draw satirical cartoons with people as skeletons. He drew the first Catrina in a negative sketch against Porfirio Diaz, the President of Mexico, who was really bringing the country to ruin. (My great grandfather fought along Pancho Villa to try to roust Diaz out, and later ended up immigrating to America.) This image of Catrina wasn’t turned into a popularized one connected to Dia de Los Muertos until the 1940s when Diego Rivera did a mural about the history of Mexico. Now you see Catrinas every year.


The Ofrenda (The Altar)

There are as many ways to make an ofrenda as there is imagination. You can make it any way you desire, but there are a few key things to include. You need a table or box to be your altar, one that you can have set out for days. You also need to have a picture of the person you would like to celebrate, it’s best to put it in the center of your display where all can see it right away. You should also include objects that symbolize what they liked or did in life. You can also decorate with sugar skulls, papel picado, Pan de Muerto, and hot chocolate.

For my ofrenda I have my Jane Austen Catrina pumpkin as my centerpiece as I couldn’t find my picture. I also haven’t unpacked my Jane Austen items so it only has Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. I also included my faux quill pen and my corona de flores, that I made for dia de Los Muertos. I also have my Jane Austen Catrina mug made by MadsenCreations, MadsenCreations té de Rosa azucar (for dia de Los Muertos), and one of the Pan de Muerto I made a few weeks ago (and froze for the occasion).


Pan de Muertos

This was my first year making Pan de Muertos as I was always scared to try it as it seems difficult. But it is just as easy as making scones. I used the recipe from Mexico in my Kitchen. Although I did do a few substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons active-dry yeast
  • ½ cup of Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup of butter at room temperature + 1/4 cup to brush the bread after baking.
  • 1 Cup of unsalted margarineroom temperature plus more for bowl and pans.
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • Orange zest from 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Zest of 1 orange or 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or orange essence
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten to brush the bread
  • Sugar to decorate the bread at the end.

Directions:

  1. Place the 4 eggs, margarine, salt and half of the sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dough, working it for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the All-purpose flour in small amounts alternating with the water. Add the dry active yeast and mix until well combined.
  4. Continue now by adding one at a time the butter, the orange zest, the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom essence or extra orange zest, mixing well after each addition until soft dough forms.
  5. Get the dough out of the mixer bowl and place onto work surface; knead until smooth, dusting work surface lightly with flour as needed if the dough begins to stick. Knead for a couple more minutes.
  6. Coat the interior of a large bowl with margarine; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto working surface, separate a portion of the dough to form the decorative bones later on. Cut the rest of the dough into two equal pieces. Prepare 2 greased baking sheets, set aside.
  8. Take portions of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, shaping each piece into a tight ball rolling the dough on the surface. This is called “bolear” in Spanish. Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Press the dough slightly.
  9. Take the remaining dough set aside and roll into small logs putting a little pressure with the fingers to form the bones. You need 2 for each bread.
  10. Place the bones on top of each roll, forming a cross.
  11. And finally, with the leftover dough form small balls and put the ball in the center. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Add a pinch of salt to our mix of egg and water and brush the buns before placing in the oven. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
  14. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  15. Once your Pan de Muerto bread has a completely cooled brush with the remaining butter and then dust with sugar.

I struggled with shaping them, but this video helped a lot.

I had Flat Jane when I made them and then I froze them so they would be ready for today.

Feliz dia de Los Muertos!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Tea Party/Book Club: Honey French Toast

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on).

Thats me

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link.

So this book made choosing the recipes extremely easy as they have several meals. For our first tea, we were inspired by what Lucy and Mr. Tumnus have together.

“Meanwhile,” said Mr. Tumnus, “it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”…

Now, Daughter of Eve!” said the Faun. And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake. And when Lucy was tired of eating the Faun began to talk. 

The first week we had Chami Teas Winter Grey: Deviled Eggs (for brown egg lightly boiled); Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés (in place of sardines on toast); Bagels (buttered toast), Honey French Toast (for toast with honey); and a Bear Claw Coffee Cake (for sugar topped cake).

This recipe comes from Farm Flavor.

Party time!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs, well beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 slices Bread
  • butter, for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs, milk, honey, and salt.
  2. Dip bread slices into honey mixture.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet. Fry in butter over medium heat until golden brown, turning once.

These were delicious and a great addition to any tea party. I don’t really like honey, but I really enjoyed these.

And eat scones!

For more recipes, go to Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés

For more recipes, go to Snickerdoodles

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

The Magician’s Nephew: Snickerdoodles

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). This week was the last for TMN and we had Chai Tea, Cranberry Chai Scones, Cucumber Canapés, Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Mini Shepherd’s Pie, and Snickerdoodles.

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I though it would be able to post these faster, but I have really fallen behind. I’m trying though!

tea

So I will not be sharing the Shepherd’s Pie recipe as my sister made it and made it up without writing down how to recreate it. Instead I will be jumping straight to snickerdoodles. This recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (184g) shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups (298g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups Flour
  • Cinnamon Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar until smooth
  4. Then beat in the eggs, again beating until smooth. The mixture will become lighter, and lighter-colored, as you beat; this is the result of air being absorbed.
  5. Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  6. Then add the flour, mixing slowly until combined.
  7. Place about 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar in an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan.
  8. Drop the soft dough by tablespoonfuls into the pan with the sugar, about 6 to 8 balls at a time. Gently shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar.
  9. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ between them.
  10. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each cookie until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.
  11. Bake the snickerdoodles for 11 to 12 minutes, reversing the position of the pans (top to bottom, and back to front) midway through.
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven once they’re set and just starting to turn golden. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

These were delicious and a perfect addition to our tea time.

teamansfieldpark

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

For more recipes, go to Cranberry Chai Scones

For more pie recipes, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party Menu, Plus How to Dip Cookies in Chocolate, and a Sugar Cookie Recipe

For more tea posts, go to Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Cranberry Chai Scones

So every Wednesday, starting last October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I was reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). The first week we had Cederberg Tea Company Rooibos + Ginger Tea, Cranberry-Spice Scones with Maple Cream, Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Cucumber-Four Peppercorn Goat Cheese Canapés, Fotina & Pork Puffed Pastry, and Mini Apple Pies.

The second week we had Chami Spice Ginger Plum Tea, Dark Chocolate Ginger SconesCurried Egg Salad Triple Stacks SandwichesTurkey-Apple Tea SandwichesFotina Flower Puffed Pastry, and Lemon Gingerbread Cake.

The third week we had Organic India Tulsi Masala Chai Tea, Parmesan and Chive SconesCucumber Aioli CanapésHam, Cheddar, and Apple Tea SandwichesCranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites, and Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

The fourth week we had Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey, Lavender and Earl Grey Scones, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Tomato Hummus Salad, Cranberry Feta Pinwheels, and Triple Berry Salad.

Week five we had NovelTea Tins The Picture of Earl Grey, Haarlem Tea Room’s Cheddar Scones, Eating Well’s Radish Tea Sandwiches, Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Brisket and Slaw Roulades, and Easy Fruit Tarts.

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That brings us to week six, when we had Cinnamon Bun Scones, Curry Egg Salad Triple Stack Sandwiches, Cranberry Feta Cheese Pinwheels, Savory Meat Hand Pies, and Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies.

And now for the last of our Magician’s Nephew book club/Bible study/tea party: Chai Tea, Cranberry Chai Scones, Cucumber Flatbread Canapés, Mini Shepherd’s Pie, Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, and Snickerdoodles.

As I was unable to share these earlier I’m catching up now and am starting with scones of course!

jamaicainneatfooddinner

This comes from TeaTime Magazine’s November/December 2020 edition. This was originally supposed to be gluten free, but as none of us have a gluten allergy, I just made them with regular flour. You were also suppose to refrigerate the steeping milk and chai tea, but I hadn’t read that and steeped it for only an hour. They still tasted good.

StirsTea
YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup of Whole Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons of Masala Chai Loose Leaf Tea
  • 2.5 Cups of Flour
  • 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 5 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, cubed
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Sugar (Granulated), divided
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. In a pint jar with lid, combine milk and loose leaf tea. Steep for 6 hours.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Using fingers, rub in butter as lightly as possible until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Stir in 1/4 cup of sugar and then the cranberries.
  6. Using an infuser or fine-mesh sieve, strain infused milk.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of infused milk, and vanilla extract.
  8. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and stir until dough begins to form.
  9. Working gently, being mixture together with hands until the dough forms.
  10. Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and gently knead by patting dough and folding it in half 3 or 4 times.
  11. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to a 1-inch thickness.
  12. Using a 2.5 inch fluted round cutter dipped in flour, and cut as many scones as possible from the dough.
  13. Place scones on the prepared baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
  14. Preheat ovens to 400 degrees F.
  15. Sprinkle tops of scones with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  16. Bake until scones are lightly Golden, 16-18 minutes.
  17. Serve immediately.
unnamed

These were extremely delicious and as you see, I enjoyed them the next morning as well with Purple Jasmine tea (this pic is from my Tea Advent Calendar Swap 2020.)

Emma1996tableeating

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies

For more recipes, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party Menu, Plus How to Dip Cookies in Chocolate, and a Sugar Cookie Recipe

For more scone recipes, go to Cinnamon Bun Scones

For more tea posts, go to Savory Meat Hand Pies

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). I also need to catch up on these recipes. Week three we had Organic India Tulsi Masala Chai Tea, Parmesan and Chive Scones, Cucumber Aioli Canapés, Ham, Cheddar, and Apple Tea Sandwiches, Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites, and Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

I couldn’t share the recipes in October as I was in the middle of Horrorfest IX, so I am catching up and of course next is the dessert.

Let’s spill the tea.

This recipe comes from Better Homes & Garden.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Whipping Cream
  • 3 Egg Yolks, Lightly Beaten
  • 2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
  • 10 Baby Pumpkins
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat until bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat; set aside
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, eggs, 1/2 Cup of Sugar, pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  5. Beat with a whisk or rotary beater just until combined.
  6. Slowly whisk the hot whipping cream into the egg mixture.
  7. Use a small serrated knife to cut off the top 1/2-inch of the baby pumpkins.
  8. Discard the tops, use the spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  9. Place the pumpkin in a roasting pan.
  10. Divide custard mixture evenly among the pumpkins.
  11. Place roasting pan on oven rack.
  12. Pour enough boiling water into the the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pumpkins.
  13. Bake 30-40 mins or until the centers appear nearly set when gently shaken.
  14. Carefully remove pan from oven.
  15. Remove pumpkins from water; cool on a wire rack.
  16. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 8.
  17. Before serving, let custards stand at room temp for about 20 mins.
  18. Meanwhile, for caramelized sugar: in a heavy 8 inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup of sugar over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly-do not stir.
  19. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low, cool 3-5 mins or until all sugar is melted and golden brown, stirring as needed.
  20. Quickly drizzle sugar over the custards. (If sugar starts to harden in skillet, return to heat, stirring until melted.)
  21. Serve immediately.
  22. ***Instead of caramelizing the sugar in a pan, you can sprinkle the sugar evenly over the custards and use a culinary torch.

 

I’m not a Crème Brûlée type person, but everyone loved it!

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites

For more recipes, go to Ham, Cheddar, and Apple Tea Sandwiches

For more desserts, go to Lemon Gingerbread Cake

For more tea posts, go to How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

For more pumpkin recipes, go to Harvest Pumpkin Scones