Our Lady of the Pillar Rice Cake Sticks

Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar) 
First Marian Shrine 
 Patroness of Spain 
Feast Day: October 12

Our Lady of the Pillar is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary from her appearance to the Apostle James the Greater in 40 AD, as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro River in Spain. He was disheartened with the lack of converts to Christianity.  Mary miraculously appeared before him atop a pillar accompanied by angels. She assured St. James that the people would eventually be converted and their faith would be as strong as the pillar she was standing on. She gave him the pillar as a symbol and a wooden image of herself and instructed him to build a chapel on the spot. The wooden image is enshrined at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza. 

Several years ago, Anne shared a beautiful pillar cake, made from a swiss roll cake which is in the archived posts.  It is lovely. I also had an idea for a simpler, no baking involved pillar for her feast day. These rice cake sticks or rolls, make nice pillars - either on their own or as a place to set an image of Mary (as is included in the above photo). It is a snack idea that provides a fun way to open a conversation about our lady under this title and the symbolism of the pillar.
As an added note: In the United States the feast is also tied to Christopher Columbus and our Columbus Day holiday. When Columbus embarked from Spain on his journey, to find a sailing route to India, he placed the three ships under Mary's patronage. As the weeks dragged on with no land in sight, the sailors grew restless. Columbus' journal indicates he invoked Our Lady under this title, declared that if they did not see land by her feast day they would turn back. On October 12, 1492 the navigators spotted indications of approaching land - one of the islands of the Bahamas.

Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us!
Nuestra Señora del Pilar, ruega por nosotros!

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White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake

While today's feast celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary.  This idea adds drops of fruit sauce to the top to create a visual rosary. 

White Chocolate Rosary Cheesecake


1 graham cracker crust
12 oz. cream cheese (1 1/2 pkg.), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Fruit sauce (prepared puree or pie filling could be used instead)

1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries, etc.)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and cornstarch . Stir in water and add berries. Cook over medium heat whisking frequently, until mixture reaches a boil. Allow mixture to gently boil about 5 minutes whisking constantly and reducing temperature slightly if necessary to reduce splattering, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and force sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove seeds (skin, etc.), set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg and egg white. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Set mixture aside. Melt white chocolate with cream in a double boiler until melted and smooth, Add melted chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the crust and spread evenly. The idea I had seen for adding shapes to the top of a cheesecake suggested using a clean medicine syringe. Fill with fruit sauce and begin to pipe small circles in a rosary pattern over cheesecake. It was more challenging than I thought to get uniform drops. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy move it through the center of each circle to connect “beads”.  Melted chocolate chips were used to make a cross. 

Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Refrigerate for about 6 hours until fully set.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for Us!

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Beautiful Cookies for Our Lady's Many Feast Days

These cookies were submitted by LaDawn Wilson in honor of Our Lady. Thank you, LaDawn!

With Mary's birthday, Our Lady of Sorrows, and soon Our Lady of the Rosary feast days in such close proximity, I could not get her out of my mind. (Thank goodness, right?). I have been working with sugar veil and finally figured out how to get it out of its mold without it ripping. It is true what they say about sugar veil, Find a spot in your home where it works. Trial and error, for sure.

The trinkets are just fondant I sprayed with edible gold. The background on the fleur de lis was stenciled with the same spray.

I highly recommend Sweet Ambs site for sugar veil tutorials and buying information. She also mentions Haniela's tutorials, which have been extremely helpful.

You can find additional ideas for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in the archives. 

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St. Francis of Assisi Tonture Cupcakes

(Tonsure: Latin tondere, "to shear") 

Tonture is the custom of shaving part (or all) of the hair of the head, derived from monastic observance in the fourth and fifth centuries. Shaving the whole head or leaving an outside ring of hair on scalp (representing a crown of thorns) became common for clerics in the sixth and seventh centuries.  Though used by many early religious orders, most associate this hair style with the Franciscans, especially St. Francis.  The idea of cakes and other treats that resembled a ring tonture have been posted here at Catholic Cuisine in the past for St. Francis feast day, October 4.

Tiny Tonture Cakes - baked donuts
Tonture of St. Francis Cake - bundt cake
Another Tonture Cake - Poor Man's Cake

This is another variation idea made with cupcakes and is very easy and quick to pull together. Make cupcakes as directed using a yellow or white cake. Pipe chocolate frosting around outer edge of each cupcake to form a tonture. The raised nature and the ability to make it look curly or wavy add to the appearance as hair and is set apart from the lighter color of the cupcake.

Serve for the feast of St. Francis or one of the other typically tontured saints.

St. Francis of Assisi and all the Franciscan saints, Pray for us!

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Trail (of Roses) Mix for the Little Flower's Feast

This summer I came across this cute candy mold for mini roses. I knew it would be fun for a variety of feast days.  They are cute for decorating cakes or cupcakes or just offering plain to snack on.  But The diminutive size reminded me of chocolate/baking chips and the idea of a rose themed trial mix came to mind. I had seen a Valentine themed trail mix recipe, with reds and whites added to the nuts. Based on St. Therese's shower of roses, I changed it to a "trail of roses".

The mix, which I made for St. Therese's (The Little Rose) feast day, would easily fit a variety of other feast days associated with the theme of roses. These are some saints associated with roses or have rose stories (several of which are upcoming this fall and winter):

St. Rita of Cascia (May 22)
St. Elizabeth/Isabel of Portugal (July 5)
St. Rose of Lima (August 23)
St. Therese  (October 1, traditional October 3)
Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)
St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18)
St. Juan Diego (December 9)
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)

Trail mix is easy to make and easy to transport, so is a great snack on the go. It is (overall) healthier and an alternative to typical baked or sweet treats for a feast day. I did not use specific measurements, but rather just eyeballed good proportions for each ingredient. Use the ingredients you like and seem fitting for the feast day. I kept it to pinks, whites and lighter colored nuts. The part taking the most time (but still super easy!) was making the candies. Use the manufacturer's instructions. Melt candy melts - I used pink but red or white could be used as well - and pour into molds. Allow time to solidify. It was helpful to place the molds with candy in the freezer for 15 minutes, which allowed the candy to release more easily from the hard plastic molds. 

Trail of Roses Mix

  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Rose candy (made with candy molds)
  • Peanuts, roasted & salted
  • Sunflower seeds, roasted & salted
Other possible ingredients for this theme: dried currants, dried cherries, cashews, sliced or blanched almonds, pine nuts, puffed rice cereal, rice chex

Authors note: I will be putting together some specific additional mix combos for the specific rose feasts and adding those here. 

St. Therese, Pray for us!

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Blackberry Mint Sparkler

As you can tell, I love the legend of blackberries associated with the Feast of St. Michael. It makes for so many fun ideas for foods and treats to celebrate the feast of the Archangels, September 29. I have included beverage ideas for feast days before, as I think they are a simple and generally healthy way to celebrate the feasts. Sparkling water always adds a flair of festivity to the mix. So here is a refreshing blackberry infused sparkling water recipe that would be a great way to remember St. Michael this year.  And if you want to go even simpler, just use a lime flavored sparkling water and add blackberries. So easy!

Blackberry Mint Sparkler

20 ounces chilled sparkling mineral water
1/4 cup blackberries
2 sprigs mint leaves
1 lime, 1/2 sliced plus juice of other 1/2
2 T. agave sweetener (or adjust to suit your taste)

In a small bowl mix together lime juice and agave.
Muddle a few mint leaves in liquid.
Pour into 2 glasses.
Add lime slices and blackberries to each glass.
Top with ice.
Add sparkling water, stir, and serve. 

St. Michael and all the Archangels, Pray for us!

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Angel Food Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting

Angel food cakes or cupcakes are always a good go-to option for the feast of the Archangels (September 29) or the Feast of the Guardian Angels the following week (October 2). This recipe which includes a buttercream frosting flavored with blackberry puree makes the treat an especially fitting one for the feast of the Archangels.  The blackberry addition recalls the legend of the blackberries associated with St. Michael's feast day.

Jessica has posted in the past about her wise and thrifty idea for making a batch of cupcakes and using a portion for one feast day and the other portion(s) for saint's days that follow closely after.  I do something similar by only baking half a batch. A typical cake mix makes 24 cupcakes but if you only make half at a time then you have 12 cupcakes which is usually more reasonable for a family dessert for one day. I just measure out half of the cake mix and add half of the additional ingredients. Some recipes call for 3 eggs and those are good boxes to make in 1/3 batches (8 cupcakes). Anyway, with angel food cake mixes, the only other ingredient is water so it is very easy to split the mix and add half the water. Continue to make batter as directed. Scoop batter into lined cupcake tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until top is dark golden and any cracks feel dry and not sticky.  Cool and frost with buttercream frosting.

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 stick butter, softened
3 ounces fresh blackberries, pureed and strained
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
food coloring, if desired

Cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add blackberry puree and mix until combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency. The puree makes the frosting a pretty pink so if you want it more purple add a little blue food coloring and mix until blended to a solid color. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Frosts approximately 12 cupcakes. Add blackberry to top if desired.
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