24 August 2013

24 August - St. Bartholomew; Lava Cakes

Weather –As Bartholomew’s Day, so the whole autumn.

If Bartelmy’s day be fair and clear,
Hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

St. Bartholomew brings the cold dew.

If it rains on Bartholomew’s day, it will rain the forty days after.
St. Bartholomew’s mantle wipes dry all the tears that St. Swithin can cry.
[Yesterday was the last of St. Swithin’s Forty Days and the weather should be more settled now.  Should be.] 

Thunderstorms after Bartholomew’s Day are more violent [compared to what?]

If the day be misty, the morning beginning with a hoar frost, then cold weather can be expected soon, and a hard winter.

Saint Bartholomew
Brings the cold dew.

Saint Bartholomew shortens our afternoons.
There is more about Saint Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr, here.

In Belgium, servant girls were told to stay out of the cabbage field today, with the reason being that St. Bartholomew didn’t want their prying eyes watching him as he made the cabbage heads larger. [I think it was to keep the servant girls from meeting the farm boys out in the fields to make whoopee.  ‘Cause we all know what that leads to…  “Mom, where did I come from?” “The cabbage-patch.”]

And for some reason, people in Brittany and Belgium who suffered from catalepsy used to gather on St. Bartholomew’s eve at their local church and trip the light fantastic. [And I will bet that there were more than a few non-sufferers- or at least just-suddenly-came-down with the malady – dancing the night away.  Anything for a party!]

Today is also dedicated to Saint Ouen (Owen) of Rouen.

And today in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and shortly thereafter buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.

So, Fruit Leather for St. Bartholomew and Periwinkles for St. Ouen.  For Vesuvius, LAVA CAKES. One of Saint Bartholomew's miracles was to move a volcano away from a group of very, very nervous people and send it out to sea, so the recipe goes with his day as well.

I found this recipe on the inside of a Challenge Butter package, and is here reproduced with permission of Challenge Dairy Products, Inc., on whose website - www.challengedairy.com - you can find more delightful recipes.
1/2 cup (1-stick) Challenge Butter, melted
7 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400°  F.

Use approximately 1 Tablespoon of the melted butter to brush the inside of six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together remaining melted butter, cocoa powder, sugars, flour and salt.  Stir in eggs until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into the prepared ramekins and set the ramekins in a large baking dish.  Pour hot water into the baking dish to a level about halfway up the side of the ramekins.

Bake for 14-15 minutes until the batter puffs but the center is not set.  The edges will be firm but the center will be runny.
[How can you tell?  Same as you would for a cake - with a toothpick - except that this time, you want to see the toothpick come out "not clean"].

Serve the cakes in the ramekins or run a knife around the edge of each cake and unmold onto plates [the buttering previously helps a lot with this].  Serve the cakes warm or chilled.  Garnish with raspberry sauce, fresh berries, vanilla ice-cream or a dusting of powdered sugar.

ARTWORK: “Saint Bartholomew” from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 15TH century.

“Saint Bartholomew” woodcut from The Golden Legend, 1489.