Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The holiday focuses on gathering family and friends to pray and honor the memory of the departed. Have you seen the new Día de los Muertos video? I invite you to watch it to learn more about the holiday.
It is believed that on these days the gates of heaven open up and children who have passed come to visit on November 1, called Día de los Angelitos (Day of the little angels). On November 2, the gates open up again and adults come down to visit, this day is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Traditions include going to the graves of the deceased and or building a home altar or small shrine. Altars include photographs of the deceased, candles, flowers such as marigolds, fruits, papel picado (paper banners), food and drinks, toys and sweets for the returning souls of children, and for the adults, even tequila. It is not expected that the departed will actually consume the offerings, but rather “absorb” them. The belief is that visiting souls may be hungry from their long journey and the food and drink is nourishment for their journey back. Afterward, the living enjoys the food and drink that is left on the altars as they tell stories of those being honored.
Día de los Muertos is neither scary nor somber; it is joyous. Celebrate Día de los Muertos with this rustic spiked apple dessert.
This may look like apple pie, but it resembles the flavor and texture of a pineapple upside down cake. A flaky piecrust topped with slices of brown sugar glazed apples layered with a moist pecan and Kahlúa flavored buttery cake and then topped with additional apple slices. Bake in a cast-iron skillet and drizzle with a rich dulce de leche apple glaze.
Apple Pecan Skillet Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze
- 6 large Granny Smith apples
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
- 1 cup butter, divided
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons Kahlúa
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 refrigerated piecrust
Dulce de Leche Apple Glaze:
- 1 (13.4 ounce) can Dulce de Leche
- ¼ cup apple juice
- Peel apples, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. Toss with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture, and sauté 15 minutes or until apples are tender and liquid is thickened. Remove from heat; cool completely (about 30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Melt remaining 3/4 cup butter. Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, Kahlúa, melted butter, and remaining 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, stirring until blended. Stir in pecans.
- Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, gently pressing piecrust all the way up the sides of skillet. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture over bottom of piecrust, spreading and gently pressing apple slices into an even layer using the back of a spoon. Spoon batter over apple mixture; top with remaining apple mixture.
- Place pie on lower oven rack, and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven; cool pie completely on a wire rack.
- Place the dulce de leche and apple juice in a saucepan and heat over a low flame, stirring constantly, until hot. Remove from heat. Drizzle 1/3 cup warm glaze over the cake. Serve with remaining sauce.