Day of the Dead Recipe

Mexico celebrates the day of the dead with colourful masks, extravagant parades, decorated skulls and folklore costumes filling the country with joy by giving tributes to the dead.

Disney has covered this theme by telling the story of a boy raised with a traditional Mexican family in the movie ‘Coco’ and is celebrating ‘the day of the dead’.

Although the celebration originates from Mexico, Latin America has been influenced to remember the dead their own way.

Ecuador’s gastronomy for this event offers the country’s pre-colonial indigenous customs combined with Spain’s colonial influence from 1463.

The purpose of ‘Colada Morada’ (a thick beverage that’s made with blended blueberries and blackberries with pieces of fruits and spices) and ‘guaguas de pan’ (bread babies) was originally to unite the family by having to work together to create the dishes and eat it around the loved one’s grave.

In London, Ecuadorian restaurants tend to sell them leading up to the day. Usually, ‘El Rincon Quiteño’ and ‘El Inca Plebeyo’ sell them to buy on the day or purchase them in advance. But if you’re out of luck they can sell out quick.

Here’s a recipe from ‘’ that will give you the same result as buying at the restaurant.


‘Colada Morada’ recipe:

  • 1 cup of purple corn flour (use corn starch as an alternative)
  • 14 oz of naranjilla pulp (use pineapple juice as an alternative)
  • 2 Cups of mortiño (use blackberries as an alternative)
  • 2 Cups of blueberries
  • 2 Cups of sliced strawberries
  • 1 Pineapple’s peels, the core and 2 cups diced
  • 1 Ishpingo (can be omitted if not available)
  • 5-6 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4-5 Whole cloves
  • 4-5 Allspice berries
  • 1 Star anise
  • 12-14 oz of panela (use brown sugar as an alternative) this can be adjusted to your taste
  • A few lemon verbena leaves fresh or dry
  • A few lemongrass leaves fresh or dry
  • 2 Pieces of orange peel
  • 12 Cups of water (8 cups for the pineapple skins + spices part, and the remaining 4 cups for the berry mix)
  • Additional fruits that can be added

The instructions are also available on the ‘’ website.


  1. Place the pineapple skins and core, cinnamon, spices and panela or brown sugar in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Boil for about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon verbena, lemongrass, and orange peels.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and strain.
  4. In a separate pot, add 4 cups of water with the blueberries and blackberries, boil for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, let cool down until safe to handle, then blend and strain.
  6. Mix the cup of the purple corn flour (or corn starch) with 1 cup of the spiced pineapple liquid until well diluted.
  7. Add the strained berry mix, the naranjilla juice (or pineapple juice), the spiced pineapple liquid and the diluted purple flour mix to a large pot.
  8. Cook over medium heat, stir constantly to keep it from sticking, bring to a boil.
  9. Add the pineapple chunks and reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat, add the strawberry slices (and any additional fruits). Serve warm or cold.



‘Guaguas de pan’ recipe:

  • ¼ oz. Active dry yeast
  • 1/2 a cup of warm milk (additional can be added if needed)
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 4 Cups of all-purpose flour (additional can be added if needed)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 4 oz. of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 Whisked egg yolks
  • Optional fillings: Nutella spread, jam etc
  • Optional decoration: Sprinkles, glitter, Icing

The instructions are also available on the ‘’ website.


  1. Sprinkle the yeast over warm milk and dissolve well.
  2. Whisk in ½ a cup of the flour until you have a creamy paste.
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and the remaining flour to the mixture. Combine it well and then add butter.
  4. Knead the dough until the consistency is smooth and elastic (add additional flour if the dough is too sticky).
  5. Form the dough into a large ball, place it in a large bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, until the size doubles.
  6. Punch the dough down and work the dough a few times.
  7. Flatten the dough and start to make the bread into doll figures. Place the filling on the side and roll it like a burrito.
  8. Pre-heat the oven at 176°C.
  9. Place all the bread figures onto a slightly greased tray and paint them a layer with the whisked egg yolk.
  10. Put the tray inside of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top of the bread babies are a golden colour.
  11. Wait until the guaguas are cooled down then decorate them.


If you’re unsure of how to prepare the dishes, the video tutorial on how to prepare the ‘Colada morada’ and ‘Guaguas de Pan’ are available.


Words: Bridget Cardenas Pazmino | Subbing: Ruta Tamulynaite | Pictures: Wikimedia Commons

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