Monday, August 3, 2009

St John Vianney's Feast Day

Here is our feast for the feastday of St John Vianney and the 150th anniversary of his death and entry into Eternal Life.

We kept the table setting austere, with no table cloth, in keeping with the simple and mortified life of the Cure.

The highlight of the meal was the cake which was quite simple, two cakes - a chocolate mud cake and a white chocolate mud cake, both cut in half hortizonally and then layered making sure the white, iced top was the last layer. Last night I had made the silhouette of The Cure as he was on the last leg of his journey to Ars for the first time. He ran into a local boy and he asked for the way...the famous and beautiful quote goes like this:

"Show me the way to Ars and I'll show you the way to Heaven."

That quote makes me teary, it's touching and profound, this was a priest that would be giving his whole being to saving souls, nothing would be held back.

The silhouette I traced from the photo below. If you click on the image to enlarge it and then save it to your computer, you can print it up to full size on paper, cut out and then trace onto heavier cardboard. I'll keep that silhouette image for next year. On the cake is the quote I mentioned above and further below you will see the quote I printed up and laminated to go on the top of the cake.

We had a lovely discussion time when getting ready to cut the cake as I talked about the image, the quote and then I asked the children why had I layered the cake, dark, light, dark, light? Discussion started. I told them how The Cure had grappled and fought with the devil throughout his priestly life, particularly on the evenings before a 'big fish' were to approach the town. {Big fish was the term The Cure used for describing the soon-to-be converted sinner.}

So the cake is a representation of that constant battle with the iced white cake on top, The Cure being victorious!! In fact the devil once said that if there had been four Cure's at that time in history his dominion on earth would have been conquered.

Click on this image to enlarge if you wish to cut and paste as a template.

Our main meal was symbolic as well. We served homemade Chicken Mustard & Vege Pasties, with a cross on top. Pasties being a French cuisine. Making the casserole filling was easy, I used 2 chicken marylands and diced them up, fried them with two small onions and garlic. Then I added finally diced brocoli and yellow squash {could be any vege} and threw in a bottle of Chicken Mustard sauce and thickened it slightly with arrowroot powder.

Then I made the dough by adding 4 cups of plain flour in a bowl, I rubbed 360 grams {12.7 ounces} of softened butter into the flour and added two egg yolks and 6 Tablespoons of lemon juice {I used lime juice as well when I ran out of lemons} I then kneaded it into a dough and separated it into 8 portions {to feed 8} and rolled them out individually, using a regular eating bowl as the template for cutting out my circles, placed a heaping of casserole in the center and folded the dough over and pressed with my thumb, the edges together and cooked them in a medium oven for a good 30 mins.

Then we had 'Devils on Horseback' with two spiced, port soaked prunes wrapped in bacon, this symbolized The Cure's war against the devil constantly. I fried the bacon and wrapped two prunes in each strip, {you can secure them with toothpicks if you like} I popped them in the oven for 10 mins or so.

Then we had a side serving of boiled potatoes, this being the staple and constant diet of The Cure who mortified himself greatly with denying himself pleasurable food. Beans were an added green to the dish and it was topped with some butter and dried herbs. The meal was delicious but looked simple as you would imagine it would have been like in rural France at The Cure's time.

As we enjoyed our meal we discussed these symbolic elements, the little children were particularly enthralled.

Here is a cross section of our yummy cake.

I've added below, Charlotte's lovely Cure of Ars cake, a beautiful job as always. Charlotte had this to say about her creation:

"One was a white chocolate cake and the other a devil's food mocha cake. The layers were stuck together with a chocolate ganache and the whole thing was glazed with a white chocolate ganache."

I thought that was great too, because the whole cake is covered in white - The Cure is victorious! When the cake is cut and served the life long 'battle' between The Saint and Satan can be seen. Lovely Charlotte!

Happy Feast Day!
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  1. Anne,
    I just love the silhouette of the Cure and the child...your feast day celebration was beautiful!

  2. Oh Anne! For once, I am so glad that you are a day ahead of us. I have time to try to pull this off (maybe just the dessert) for dinner tonight for our guest! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Question: Did you make your mud cakes or did you pick them up from the bakery like you've mentioned in the past? If you made them, could you share the recipes sometime but if not, can you send someone over here to teach our bakeries how to make them? They sound delicious.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful feast. I'll be trying this tonight. I'm also glad you're a day ahead of us here.

    An easy way that I've found to make a layered cake is to bake the cake in a bar pan (10x15)lined with parchment paper, turn the cake out onto a cutting board, remove the parchment and cut into thirds. This makes a lovely torte-like cake without having to cut horizontally on a thicker cake.

  4. Thank you for sharing Anne, just beautiful celebration and I love the Cure's quote. God bless!

    Liturgy of the Hours

  5. Charlotte, mud cakes are my speciality but time was against me yesterday because the dinner was planned only late the night before when I made the cut-out so I picked these ones up.

    My suggestion to you if you make them, ice them first before cutting them in half, that's important.

    If you click on St Gregory the Great in the sidebar here, you should find my mudcake recipe. I'd love to see your table for the feast Charlotte, I know it would be good!

  6. Lovely dinner, Anne. Very befitting of the special day in recognition of St. Jean Vianney. I didn't have anything near as nice - mine was leaning definitely more to the austere knowing he lived on very little food or sleep. I had been thinking broth, bread, and water - ha ha.

  7. How simply awesome! Wish I had been there to enjoy this meal! Very simplistically beautifully symbolic! What a great table and celebration for this saint!

  8. Anne, you amaze me with what you came up with to celebrate St. John Vianney.
    May I be one of your kids? It all is so spiritual, educational, and delicious!

  9. I love this idea! Everything looked so delicious!

  10. This is awesome!! I found your site while looking for an interesting cake recipe for my new Pastor's instillation this weekend - absolutely brilliant :-) and I adore St. John Vianney! Keep up the great work ;-)

  11. Anne, I love the silhouette idea and the cake looks delicious! I read the post back on the day of the feast and did a quick easy version of your idea of contrasting light and dark colors by making a Banana snack cake with chocolate chips. Alas, dinner came and went, everyone came back for dessert and after prayers and we ate it all and I completely forgot to explain the significance, lol! I will be using both the silhouette and contrasting cake colors ideas again on another feast...maybe St. Michael? The name of another saint who struggled with the devil escapes me right now.

  12. Oh, Anne...I just love your celebration details!! It's all just so lovely!!! I'm so glad you shared! I'm with Charlotte...I wish we could get some nice mud cakes over here...I'm off to click on St. Gregory the Great in the sidebar to copy your recipe! :)

  13. beautiful celebration! i'm going to have to remember this for next year.

  14. wonderful celebration!