22 July 2011

22 July - St. Mary Magdalene; Madeleines

Today is the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, the sinful woman out of whom our Lord expelled seven demons, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the first (after His Mother) to see the Savior after He had risen from the dead.  Because she took the good news of the Risen Lord to the remaining eleven disciples, she has been called "the Apostle to the Apostles".

Read the entries at Catholic Encyclopedia and at Fisheaters for extensive articles on this popular saint and her importance as the example of the profound moral beauty of repentance.  The extremely long entry for the Magdalen in the Golden Legend gives her (and Lazarus and Martha) a noble parentage and a lot of Holy Land real estate, which they divided between them - Mary receiving the castle of Magdala, Martha, the castle at Bethany, and Lazarus, a great part of Jerusalem.  Their great wealth was given to the Apostles after Our Lord's Ascension, and at some point after the stoning of Saint Stephen, they were put in a rudderless boat which miraculously landed in Marseilles.  The story continues with several miracles accredited to Mary.

Her usual attribute in art is an alabaster jar, as seen in the image here, from the narratives of Luke 7:36-50 and John 12:3-8 when she anointed Our Lord's feet with an ointment of spikenard.  In depictions of the Crucifixion, she is usually shown as a young woman with unbound hair streaming over her shoulders as she embraces the Cross in a frenzy of grief.


Roses begin to fade today [although with the weather we are having now, I'd say they were burnt to a crisp]
Love charm:

To dream of your future husband, dip a sprig of rosemary in a mixture of wine, rum, gin, vinegar, and water [how much of each is your guess].  Take three sips of this mixture and stagger off to bed.  Your future husband should appear to you in a dream. [I'll just bet!  And try explaining to your mother that you've raided her liquor cabinet in a worthy cause.]

In honor of Saint Mary, have MADELEINES at tea today.  These are small, shell-shaped cakes, baked in a madeleine pan.  This recipe makes about 40.

Butter the madeleine pans (and do be thorough; you don't want the cakes to stick to the pan).  Some people also flour the pans.

Clarify 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) and allow to cool (instructions for clarifying butter).  You will need 3/4 cup of clarified butter for this recipe.

Grate lemon rind to equal 1/2 teaspoon.

Preheat oven to 450° F.
Note: if you do not have a double boiler, use a flat-bottomed bowl for the egg mixture and suspend it over a saucepan of hot water.  Do not let the water boil or touch the bottom of the bowl.

Heat a couple of inches of water in the bottom part of a double boiler over low heat to hot, but not boiling.  In the top part of the double boiler, blend together 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar and the the grated lemon rind.  Put over the hot water and heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the egg mixture is lukewarm (about 100°).  Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy and tripled in volume. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Sift or sprinkle 1 cup of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, over the egg mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula or whisk.  Fold in the clarified butter. (You don't want to beat down the volume, so stir these ingredients in only until mixed.)

Fill madeleine pans 2/3 full with batter.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.  Let them stand for a couple of minutes before removing from the pans.  Butter the pans again, fill, and bake. Repeat until there is no batter remaining.