Serious Eats: Recipes

Cakespy: Frida Kahlo's Pan de Muerto

Note: Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) drops by every Monday to share a delicious dessert recipe.

[Photographs and original art: Jessie Oleson]

Have you ever looked at a Frida Kahlo's enigmatic self-portraits and wondered what secrets might lurk behind her signature (and very assertive) brow? Well, I can share at least one, discovered while leafing through Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Frida Kahlo's Pan de Muerto recipe. Pan de Muerto ("bread of the dead") is a traditional Day of the Dead treat. The dough of the rich, sweet bread is twisted into bone and skull motifs to pay homage to relatives and friends who have passed.

Don't forget the 'stache and unibrow when decorating!

While Frida's version lacks the traditional anise, it certainly does not lack in flavor. These mini loaves are surprisingly light for such an egg-rich dough, punctuated with cinnamon and sugar for a lightly sweet and delectably spicy treat. And if you choose (as I did) to add a sweet orange glaze on top, they easily transition from snack territory to that of decadent breakfast or light and sweet dessert. Of course, adding Frida-esque embellishments only heightens the experience—don't forget the 'stache and unibrow when decorating!

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