Saint of the day:
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Patron Saint of Europe; loss of parents; converted Jews; martyrs; World Youth Day
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross’ Story
A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was 14, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila that she began a spiritual journey that led to her baptism in 1922. Twelve years later she imitated Saint Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau, Germany–now Wroclaw, Poland–Edith abandoned Judaism in her teens. As a student at the University of Göttingen, she became fascinated by phenomenology, an approach to philosophy. Excelling as a protégé of Edmund Husserl, one of the leading phenomenologists, Edith earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1916. She continued as a university teacher until 1922 when she moved to a Dominican school in Speyer; her appointment as lecturer at the Educational Institute of Munich ended under pressure from the Nazis.
After living for four years in the Cologne Carmel, Sr. Teresa Benedicta moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, in 1938. The Nazis occupied that country in 1940. In retaliation for being denounced by the Dutch bishops, the Nazis arrested all Dutch Jews who had become Christians. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa, also a Catholic, died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on August 9, 1942.
Pope John Paul II beatified Teresa Benedicta of the Cross in 1987, and canonized her 12 years later.
Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne
Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands
We are celebrating with a Dutch Jewish recipe because our Saint has ties to the Netherlands and she was Jewish.
In the 1500s the Netherlands were known for being tolerant of any religious practices. This meant freedom for Christians as well as Jews, who flocked there in large numbers. They mostly came from Spain, where only Catholicism was acceptable. The Jews were Sephardic and brought with them traditional Sephardic foods. But as word spread, Ashkenazi Jews arrived as well and by the 1700s made up a large part of the Jewish population. Each culture brought its own influence to Holland and contributed dishes that remain popular today. One of the most famous is called “Zeeuwse Bolus,” or sweet spiral buns. These sweet sticky buns are covered in cinnamon and sugar and for this reason are sometimes referred to as “inside-out buns.”
Dutch Jewish Bolus
Zeeuwse Bolus or inside-out buns
3 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ cups whole milk or soy milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Sift all of the flour into a bowl and add the yeast. Heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Make a depression in the flour and add ½ cup of the warm milk. Now add the egg and butter or margarine into the same depression. Start the mixer slowly and add the rest of the lukewarm milk one bit at a time into the flour, kneading until you have a silky smooth dough. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour under a damp cloth in a warm place.
Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together.
Knead the dough once again, by hand, for about a minute.
Cut the dough into 60 small pieces of about 2 ounces each. Let the dough rise for about 15 minutes under a plastic bag or tarp. Spread cinnamon and sugar on your countertop. After 15 minutes, roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set aside to rise for another 15 minutes.
Roll the dough pieces through the sugar, making long strings about ¾” in diameter. Make sure they’re well coated. Twist the rope around your finger to make a knot. Put the boluses on a lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for another half hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the boluses are golden brown. After baking, turn the boluses over immediately. Be careful, the melted sugar is HOT! Let the boluses cool down a bit before serving.
These are best served warm and sticky!
Another traditional Dutch Jewish food is their version of potato kugel, known as “Pom.” It combines shredded potatoes and chicken along with a delicious mix of spices.
*Add Pecans to make more of a Praline flavor. Top with a lemon icing made of powder sugar and lemon juice.