Monday, November 23, 2015

Pope St. Clement - Clementine Cranberry Tea Bread

On this feast of Pope St. Clement I think of clementines for feasting. The timing is prime as clementine cuties are just starting to become abundant in the stores - right as we celebrate St. Clement's feast. This tasty sweet and tangy tea bread is a fitting tribute to today's patron.  Enjoy this bread with breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.

Clementine Cranberry Tea Bread


4 ounces butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
zest of 3 clementines
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons clementine juice


Preheat oven to 325º. Grease and flour 8 x 4 or 9×5 loaf.

Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar and zest in mixer bowl. Beat on medium until light, 3 – 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, and scraping sides. Stir in the vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add it to batter, stirring on low speed until just combined. Fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to make sure zest clumps are distributed throughout the batter. Fold in the cranberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake 75-90 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes and remove from the pan. Poke it all over the top with a toothpick or skewer.

Make the glaze:
While loaf is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and juice. Brush the glaze over the top and sides. Cool completely and serve. Makes one 9×5 loaf.

Pope St. Clement, Pray for us. 

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Monday, November 16, 2015

St. Elizabeth Rose Rolls

Roses and bread are both symbols for St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17) and St. Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal (July 4) so a bread in shape of rose serves as a dual reminder for their feast days. Last year I shared a braided twist rose bread idea but here is another variation on the rose bread for the feasts of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Elizabeth of Portugal. 

This recipe uses the same sweet roll dough from the previous St. Elizabeth Rose Bread idea.

Sweet Roll Dough
1 pkg. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1/2 c. lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 c. butter, margarine or shortening
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 ½ to 4 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk sugar, butter, salt, egg, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 ½ hours.

Cinnamon Filling
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cinnamon 

Mix until all sugar and cinnamon is moistened. 

Make 4 small balls (golf ball size) of dough and roll them out into 3 1/2 inch diameter circles. Overlap dough circles as shown. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar mixture across middle, leaving curved edges clear. 

Roll circles up into rolls as shown. You should end up with rolled dough with both ends fluted. Cut roll in half. 

Place dough in greased muffin tins. Cut/flat end should be down and the pretty, fluted/curved end up. 

Let rise until double (30-40 minutes). Bake in 375 degree oven 14-18 minutes. 

St. Elizabeth, Pray for us!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Apple Slices with Cinnamon - Fall Harvest Treat for Feast Days

Autumn and apples - it is the consummate harvest food. So many delicious varieties. Because apples are harvested in the late summer and fall months and they keep well into the winter, they were a common feast day food inclusion for a number of fall saints. We see apples at Michaelmas (September 29), Martinmas (November 11), and also for this week's feast of St. Charles Borromeo (November 4 on the General Roman Calendar and November 5 on Traditional Calendar). St. Charles is the patron of apple orchards so has a special connection for anything apple in feast day celebrations.  Another saint associated with apples is St. Dorothea (Dorothy) of Caesarea (February 6). She is usually depicted holding a basket of apples and roses for a pious legend associated with her martyrdom and the conversion of one of her persecutors.  And in Eastern rite churches (like Ukrainian Catholic) the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6, August 19 for Orthodox) is traditionally called Apple Spas. Apples are blessed on that day.  The apple is also symbolic of Christ, the new Adam. When Christ is depicted holding an apple it symbolizes the fruit of salvation (as contrasted with the apple in Adam's hand, meaning sin). 

Simplicity is always helpful to me in feast day ideas and this apple treat is a very easy and healthy snack option. It consists of freshly cut apple slices, sprinkled with cinnamon.  It is delicious and it tastes like a treat but is so easy to make.  I find I prefer a crisp and sweet apple for this treat (Gala, Fuji, Cameo, Honeycrisp, Braeburn). Use as many or as few apples as you need. Since they will be sliced you will only want to make what will be eaten in a fairly short time so they don't brown. 

Core and slice (thinly) the apples. Place in bowl. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Mix apples to coat evenly. Add more cinnamon if needed to taste. Serve.  

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