06 February 2013

6 February - St. Dorothea; Rosewater Apple Pie

Weather: St. Dorothea gives the most snow  [and it looks like the Smallest State is about to get a goodly amount tomorrow.  Thanks, Dolley.]

"At Caesarea, in Cappadocia, the birthday of St. Dorothy, virgin and martyr, who was stretched on the rack, then a long time scourged with boughs of the palm-tree, and finally condemned to capital punishment, under Sapricius, governor of that province.  Her noble confession of Christ converted a lawyer named Theophilus, who was also tortured in a barbarous manner, and finally put to death by the sword."

Read more about Saint Dorothea here.

Saint Dorothea’s attribute is flowers and fruit, usually carried in a basket, but sometimes in her veil.  In her honor, decorate the table with artificial red and white roses, and serve the two things sent from Paradise, in the form of an APPLE PIE flavored with an ingredient known as rosewater.

Make or buy pastry for a two-crust pie.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Peel and core 5 cooking apples (‘sour’ apples like Granny Smith).  Slice apples.

In a bowl, mix together the apples, 2/3 of a cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of cream, and 1 tablespoon of rosewater (if you don’t have rosewater, you can use almond extract).  Coat the apple slices thoroughly.

Turn apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate; top with second crust and seal edges.  Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Mix together ¼ cup of milk and ½ teaspoon of rosewater, and brush over top crust.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

You can make your own rosewater with a bit of time and patience, and a lot of aromatic rose petals.  Hot-house roses don’t have a good scent, and are generally full of pesticides, so don’t use them.  Instead, find some old-fashioned roses (maybe add them to your garden this year); they have a short bloom time, but while they bloom, the scent is glorious!  Look for recipes online that use the distillation method (although you can get a good enough product by letting the petals simmer in distilled water) and don’t – DON’T – put orris-root or alcohol in with the finished water – those are for cosmetic uses only.

Until your roses bloom, you can find rosewater at specialty and gourmet stores, or order it from the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village (Maine) or South Union Shaker Village(Kentucky) (I bought my little vial of rosewater while on a visit to a Shaker Museum.)  Use it in cookies, pastries, and Middle-Eastern recipes.

“Saint Dorothy”, The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (15th century).  The page includes two angels playing instruments in the Garden of Paradise.