tartlicious tuesday’s: soul cakes
Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 2nd, however celebrations begin on November 1st, which Is known as Día de Muertos Chiquitos–The Day of the Little Dead also known as All Saints Day. Día de los Muertos continues into November 2nd which is called All Souls Day.
The name of the holiday gives pause, but it is actually a joyous occasion for it is the time to celebrate the memory of ancestors as well as the continuity of life. El Día de Los Muertos originated in Mexico, before the arrival of the Spanish. The holiday is also celebrated in central and South American countries. The Catholic Spanish did not like the pagan qualities of this holiday. And, as with many pagan holidays, El Día de Los Muertos was joined to the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day. Interestingly, All Saints Day was originally celebrated in May, but that date was altered by Pope Gregory IV in 837AD to cast a shadow over All Hollow’s Eve. No matter how Catholics rearranged the calendar it was no use as is evident today for people still celebrate Halloween, Día de los Muertos as well as All Saints Day.
Today, you will find that el Día de los Muertos combines pagan and Christian traditions as do many other holidays. Preparations for the holiday include the sale of holiday related items such as statues and food items. Pan de muerto, sweet bread and sugar skulls are particularly popular.
In other countries around the world you will find variations of these three days: All Hollow’s Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. For instance, in France, on “Toussaint” all the saints of the Catholic Church are celebrated, bells are tolled. It is a day to give the saints praise. On All Souls Day in certain countries, such as Mexico and Hungary, on the eve of this day graves are adorned with flowers and candles are lit. In other countries special cakes are eaten on All Souls Day. There is a superstition that the more special cakes eaten, the more souls saved from purgatory.
In England many will still go out on All Souls’ Eve singing:
Soul! soul! for a soul-cake!
I pray, good misses a soul-cake–
An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
Because Tartlicious Tuesdays falls in the middle of all three days, Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, we made our own holiday adjustment by combining the soul cake dough with the deliciously sweet filling of a butter tart. These are delicious and can be eaten throughout the year. They make an especially yummy weekend breakfast treat!
1 yeast cake
2 cups milk, slightly scalded
½ cup sugar
6 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups flour
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
¼ lb. butter
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Dissolve the yeast cake with 1 teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm water and let it stand in a warm place.
2. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the milk which has been scalded and slightly cooled and then add the yeast.
3. Sift the flour with the salt and cinnamon and add to the mixture, kneading for a few minutes.
4. Place in a bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place to double its bulk.
5. Shape the dough into round buns and bake at 375 degrees F. for about thirty minutes or until lightly browned if you’d just like to make the buns.
6. Or, shape into small buns that will, when rolled out, will line a normal sized muffin pan and follow the directions below:
Butter Tart Filling
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup light cream (half-and-half)
1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla extract. Stir in the cream.
2. Roll out the dough to fit into a muffin pan, making individual tarts. The dough will expand since it is intended for rolls, so roll out to about ¼ inch thick. Butter the muffin pan and place dough into individual cups.
3. If using nuts and/or raisins, place a spoonful in the bottom of each tart shell and then fill the unbaked tart shells ¼ of the way with the filling. Since the dough expands too much filling will overflow.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the pastry has just a hint of golden brown and the filling is puffed and set.
5. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Best served when warm.