Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Massa Marittima, Italy
Saint Cerbonius’ Story
An alternate tradition made him a bishop of Massa Marittima around 544 AD, and devotion to the saint in this city arose after Massa Marittima became an episcopal center. Another tradition states that Cerbonius was a native of North Africa who was the son of Christian parents. He was ordained a priest by Saint Regulus (San Regolo), though not the same one as in the Scottish Legend. Due to persecution by the Arian Vandals in North Africa, the local Christian community dispersed, and together with Regulus, Felix, and some priests, Cerbonius escaped to Italy. After a storm at sea, they landed at Tuscany, where they lived as hermits. During the war raging currently in Italy between Byzantine and Gothic forces, Regulus was imprisoned and decapitated by the Goths after being accused of aiding the Byzantines. After the death of the bishop of Populonia, Florentius (Fiorenzo), the citizens and clerics asked that Cerbonius serve as their bishop. The citizens soon became frustrated with him, however, since Cerbonius rose every Sunday at daybreak and said mass instead of doing so at the normal hour. The people complained to Pope Vigilius. Vigilius, on hearing what the saint had done, became angry and sent legates to Piombino to bring the bishop to Rome. They found Cerbonius eating breakfast and accused him of heresy, believing that he was eating before performing mass, when in fact he had already performed the service. They brought him back to Rome. During the way, he cured three men suffering from fever and tamed some wild geese by making the sign of the cross over them, which explains this particular attribute. The geese accompanied him to St. Peter's and flew off after Cerbonius made the sign of the cross over them again. At Rome, the next morning at daybreak, Cerbonius went into the Pope's chamber and roused him out of bed. He then asked the Pope if he did not hear angels singing; Vigilius replied that he did hear anything of the kind. Cerbonius went off to say mass and Vigilius gave him leave to say his mass at any hour of the morning that pleased him, and sent him back to Piombino.
Cattedrale di San Cerbone
Parrocchia Di S. Pietro All'Orto Piazza Ettore Socci, 1, 58024 Massa Marittima GR, Italy
Art: Duccio di Buoninsegna in Massa Marittima
Goose Feet Cookies (Gusinie Lapki)
Hailing from Russia (gusinie lapki translates to goose feet), these cookies are named for their intriguing folded shape. They're flavored with orange zest and vanilla bean and owe their light, flaky texture to a beloved Russian ingredient: farmer's cheese.
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh farmer cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 heaping tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, mix together cheese, butter, vanilla seeds, and orange zest with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add flour mixture and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut out rounds. Gather dough scraps, reroll, and cut out more rounds.
Place granulated sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Working with one round at a time, brush with water, then dip in sugar to coat. Fold round in half, covering sugar; fold in half again. Place seven cookies on each of two parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies are best eaten the day they are made.