April 2

Saint of the day:

Saint Francis of Paola

Patron Saint of Calabria; Amato; La Chorrera, Panama; boatmen, mariners, and naval officers

The Story of Saint Francis of Paola


Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the Franciscan friary of San Marco there, and when fifteen became a hermit near Paola. In 1436, he and two companions began a community that is considered the foundation of the Minim Friars. He built a monastery where he had led his eremitical life some fifteen years later and set a Rule for his followers emphasizing penance, charity, and humility, and added to the three monastic vows, one of fasting and abstinence from meat; he also wrote a rule for tertiaries and nuns. He was credited with many miracles and had the gifts of prophesy and insight into men's hearts. The Order was approved by Pope Sixtus IV in 1474 with the name Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi (changed to Minim Friars in 1492). Francis established foundations in southern Italy and Sicily, and his fame was such that at the request of dying King Louis XI of France, Pope Sixtus II ordered him to France, as the King felt he could be cured by Francis. He was not, but was so comforted that Louis' son Charles VIII, became Francis' friend and endowed several monasteries for the Minims. Francis spent the rest of his life at the monastery of Plessis, France, which Charles built for him. Francis died there on April 2nd and was canonized in 1519. His feast day is April 2.












Basilica di San Francesco di Paola

(Basilica of St Francis of Paola)

Largo San Francesco di Paola

87027 Paola, Italy

*In 1482 King Louis XI of France requested the presence of St Francis of Paola at his side as he neared death. St Francis was at first reluctant to accept the king’s request because he did not want to leave his native Italy. However, upon the urging of Pope Sixtus IV he acquiesced. St Francis of Paola then remained in France for the next 25 years providing counsel to the French kings. He died in 1507 and was buried in Plessis. In 1562 his tomb was forcefully opened, his incorrupt body plundered, and the majority of his relics destroyed by French Huguenots. The few bones that escaped destruction were later taken to Paola, Italy. These bones now rest within this church.



The Bartlett pear is called “The Good Christian” in France, after St. Francis of Paola introduced it!


‘Poire bon Chretien’ (good Christian pear)

“Said to have originated in Calabria in southern Italy, Bartletts probably were introduced to France by St. Francis of Paola.

St. Francis brought a young tree as a gift for King Louis XI of France, who had summoned him in

the hope that the saint would miraculously cure the king’s many illnesses. When the king died in 1483,

St. Francis returned to Italy, but he left behind the legacy of his pear tree, called by the French the ‘poire bon chretien’ (good Christian pear).”

Bartlett Pear Tarte Tatin


  • 7 Bartlett pears (firm)

  • 120gms caster sugar

  • 50gm butter

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (cut 28 cm circle)

Cinnamon Ice cream

  • 500ml milk

  • 500ml cream

  • 30gm sugar

  • 250gm yolks

  • 80gm sugar

  • 4 cinnamon sticks



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Peel the pear, using a parisan scoop, remove the core and cut into quarters. 

  2. Place sugar into a frypan, and place on high heat, when the sugar turns to a caramel colour add the pears, butter and vanilla. 

  3. Cook the pears until they just take colour and are coated in caramel. Turn the pears to face down on the pan in a circular pattern and set aside. 

  4. Place the pears back in the pan with the caramel and place puff pastry over the top of pears and tuck down the sides. 

  5. Place the pears in to the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is cooked. Turn the pan upside down to flip out. Cut into quarters and serve with ice cream.

    Ice cream 

  6. Place milk, cream, cinnamon and 30 grams of sugar in a pan and boil.

  7. Whisk together the yolks and sugar until light and airy, add in the boiling liquid, mix together, pour back into the pan and place on medium heat, cook until the mix coats the back of the spoon, strain and chill.


Iconic  Calabria Holiday Dessert (Christmas but good anytime!)



  • 1 Pound Of Raisins

  • 1 Pound Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

  • 1/2 Cup Whiskey

  • 3/4 Cup Sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

  • Juice Of 1 Orange


  • 4 to 5 Cups All-Purpose Flour 

  • 3/4 Cup White Wine

  • 3 Eggs

  • Zest From 1 Lemon And 1 Orange

  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

  • Toothpicks


  • 1 Cup Honey

  • Colored Sprinkles


  • For the filling, combine all filling ingredients in a glass bowl, cover and let sit overnight, covered, stirring occasionally.

  • For the dough, make a mound of 4 cups of the flour on a pastry board or counter.

  • Make a well in the center, and using a fork, begin to add in the remaining ingredients, mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ones by stirring with the fork until you have created a soft dough. (Add additional flour if the dough is still too sticky.)

  • Knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes with a little additional flour as needed until the dough is smooth, then divide into 8 equal sized balls.

  • To make the cakes, covering the rest of the balls, take one and begin to run it through a pasta machine to flatten.

  • Continue to lightly flour and pass through increasingly narrow openings, until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. (I stop at number 3 to 4 on my roller attachment.)

  • Place the dough strip on the counter, and using a scalloped pastry wheel, run it along the outside edges of each side of the dough.

  • Next using the pastry wheel, cut the strip of dough in half lengthwise into two ribbons about 2 1/2 inches wide.

  • On each half of the ribbon, sprinkle on some of the walnut, raisin mixture and fold to close.

  • Starting at one end, begin to roll up the dough into a coil, using toothpicks to support it as needed.

  • Continue until you have an 6 inch cake, and follow the same steps to use up all of the dough up in this manner. 

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  • Place the cakes on a lightly floured baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned

  • Melt the honey in a pot and brush each of the cakes lightly over the top.

  • Bake an additional 5 minutes.

  • Sprinkle with the candy sprinkles.

  • Let cool completely 

Italian Calabrian Easter Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 4½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract


  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  • 3-4 teaspoons milk

  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract

  • Sugar Sprinkles, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, oil, milk and lemon extract on low speed until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture until dough is formed. Let rest, covered for 20 minutes.

  2. Break off small pieces of the dough and roll into pencil thin strips 4 inches long. Twist dough pieces to make circles or braids. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and allow to cool on wire racks.

  3. Icing: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and lemon extract until smooth. Add more milk, if necessary. Using a metal spatula, frost the tops of the cookies. The frosting will drip down the sides and coat the cookies. Return to wire racks for frosting to set. Sprinkle with multi-colored sprinkles, if desired, before frosting is set. Store in an airtight container. Makes 36.