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January 16 

Saint of the day:

Saint Fursey

Patron Saint of Killursa Parish, Co. Galway, Ireland, Peronne, France

The Story of Saint Fursey

Saint Fursey (also known as Fursa, Fursy, Forseus, and Furseus: died 650) was an Irish monk who did much to establish Christianity throughout the British Isles and particularly in East Anglia. He reportedly experienced angelic visions of the afterlife. Fursey is one of the Four Comely Saints.

Son of an Irish prince, Fursey became abbot of a monastery in Tuam, Co. Galway, but it was as a missionary in England and France that he achieved a European fame overshadowed only by Columbanus. He was welcomed to East Anglia c. 630 by King Sigebert, who granted land for a monastery at Burgh Castle in Suffolk. Becoming ill, Fursey fell into a trance and, according to Saint Bede the historian, quit his body from evening till cock-crow and was found worthy to behold the chorus of angels in Heaven. Fursey's visions of Heaven and Hell, experienced throughout his life and widely recounted, are thought to have inspired Dante's Divine Comedy.

After some years in East Anglia, Fursey set out on a pilgrimage to Rome. He was well-received by Clovis, king of the Franks, whose palace mayor, Erconwald, persuaded the saint to build a monastery at Lagny, outside Paris. Fursey died c. 648 at Mazerolles, where he had once miraculously restored a nobleman's son to life. Erconwald had the body brought to Péronne in Picardy, where it awaited entombment while a new church was built. Four years later, when the body was buried near the altar, it was found to be completely free from decomposition.








Ireland: one of the three sacred sites of County Kerry





Irish Apples & Cream Custard Tart Recipe

  • Sweet Pastry Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) room temperature unsalted butter

  • 1 large egg

  • Apricot Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves

  • 1/2 tablespoon Cognac, Rum or Water


  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup (190 ml) half and half cream 

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

  • 1 tablespoon Apple Brandy 


  • 1 1/2 pounds (675 grams) Granny Smith Apples (3 large firm textured apples) 

  • 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) granulated white sugar

  • 2 tablespoon (26 grams) unsalted butter

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon



Sweet Pastry Crust: 

  1. Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

  2. Gradually add the egg, beating just until incorporated. (Don't over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.) 

  3. Add flour and salt and mix just until it forms a ball. (Don't overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.)

  4. Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate about one hour or until firm.

  5. Have ready an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). 

  6. When the pastry is the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.  Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.  Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack.  When cool, spread a thin layer of warm apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and prevent it from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes.

Apricot Glaze: 

  1. In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves until boiling. 

  2. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. 

  3. Add the Cognac or water.  


  1. In a large bowl whisk the flour and sugar together.  Mix in the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Do not let this mixture sit too long as it will form a crust. 

  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half until it just starts to boil and the cream foams up. Remove from heat and gradually whisk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Whisk in the vanilla extract and Apple Brandy, if using. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the apples.


  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. Melt the 2 tablespoons (26 grams) butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) sugar. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 - 10 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.

Assemble Tart: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the middle of the oven. Arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top of the cooled and glazed tart shell. Carefully pour the custard over the apples to just below the top of the tart pan (do not fill all the way or the custard will drip between the crust and the pan).  Sprinkle lightly with the Cinnamon Sugar.

  2. Place tart pan on a larger baking sheet to make it easier to remove from oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set.

  3. Let the tart cool on wire rack, then lightly sift powdered sugar over the top. Place the tart under the broiler in the oven just long enough to caramelize the sugar on the apples.  To prevent the edges of the tart shell from over-browning, you can cover them with a thin piece of aluminum foil or pie shields. Be careful not to over brown.

  4. To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto a cardboard cake round or platter.  

  5. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla sauce.
    Makes 1 - 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.

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