Quilts de los Muertos
In "Quilts de los Muertos" in the October/November 2009 issue of Quilters Newsletter, we shared the whimsical skeleton quilts of Tucson, Arizona, quiltmaker Nancy Arseneault. Nancy's quilts borrow imagery from the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead (November 2), when the spirits of the dead are welcomed back to their homes. Among the many traditions associated with Dia de los Mertos is the making and decorating of sugar skulls to place on the tomb of a deceased loved one. Here is a recipe for the easy-to-make decorations.
5 pounds granulated sugar
¼ cup meringue powder*
3 tablespoons water
Mix sugar and meringue powder. Add water. Knead until the mixture it is the consistency of beach sand. Press the mixture into sugar skull molds* and scrape the excess mixture off the back of the mold. Place a square of cardboard over the mold and invert. Carefully lift the mold. If the skulls stick inside the mold, the mixture is too wet; add more sugar. If the mixture is too dry, spritz with water. Allow the skulls to air-dry at least 8 hours. Decorate them with colored royal icing* or nonedible embellishments.
*Available where cake-decorating and candy-making supplies are sold.
About 20 medium skulls or 100 mini skulls
Caution: Do not make sugar skulls on a rainy or humid day.
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