Saint of the day:
Feast of the Holy Spouses a celebration of the marriage of Joseph and Mary
Patron Saint of married people and marriage
Little is known about the married life of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Only a few episodes are recorded in the Gospels, and each of those focuses on their son, Jesus.
Yet, they are held up by the Church as the prime example of a holy marriage, and remain heavenly patrons for all married couples.
Interestingly, for many centuries there existed a particular feast in the Church’s calendar that celebrated the marriage of Joseph and Mary.
It was called the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph.
The Cathedral of Our Lady Freiburger Münster
Münsterplatz, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Stained glass and the bread markings on the front of the church
St. George Church
Altrathauspl. 2, 91550 Dinkelsbühl, Germany
Our father who art in heaven.... give us this day our daily bread....
On the cathedral there are interesting markings that take a keen eye to find. Back in the day, people would come here if they had a issues with the size of their bread. This carving was used to measure the bread – the left carving signified a good size bread, and the right signified a small or bad bread. If the bread was too small the towns people would take the bread inside and tell the church. The church would then bring the baker into the town square and tell the town that he was a cheat. (Search for the carvings on the left side of the entrance to the cathedral!)
Bread is also in other places on the cathedral. The stained glass windows show the coat of arms of the baker's guild in a window on the north side of the Freiburg Minster (cathedral). You can tell which window it is because it shows a little pretiola (reward) in the shape of a “Bretzel” or as Americans call it a pretzel.
The term “tying the knot” has special significance concerning the pretzel. It seems pretzels were introduced into the wedding ceremony. The couple wished upon and broke a pretzel like a wishbone, then they ate it to signify their oneness. A 17th century woodcut copied from a stained glass window in a cathedral in Berne, Switzerland, shows the pretzel being used as the “marriage knot” between two royal families.
The Easter egg hunt may very well be a descendant of the tradition the Germans had at Easter. Pretzels were hidden around the farms for the children to find. They were then served with two hard-boiled eggs on Good Friday. The pretzel symbolized everlasting life and the two eggs nestled in each large hole represented Easter’s rebirth.
At the beginning of the new year, German children tied pretzels on strings around their necks for prosperity, health and good fortune.
So, other than a tasty snack, the pretzel remind us that it is a symbol for excellence in many accomplishments, especially towards children when they pray, and also as a symbol of love, when used as a nuptial knot between couples.
Croquembouche ~ French Wedding Cake
Croquembouche is a French dessert made from choux puff pastry, a super-delicate pastry dough. Each pastry puff is filled, most commonly with crème pâtissière, and then stacked in a cone shape. To help this confection stand tall, a drizzle of caramel is added to hold it together.
Pâte à Choux
1 1/2 cups water
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a
wooden spoon until a tight dough forms and pulls away from the side of the pan,
2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a bowl, beat 7 eggs and add to the dough in four batches, stirring vigorously between
additions until the eggs are completely incorporated and the pastry is smooth.
The dough should be glossy and very slowly hang, stretch and fall from the spoon in thick ribbons.
If necessary, beat in the remaining egg.
Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch mounds
onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them.
2 cups whole milk 473mL
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar 135g
1/4 cup cornstarch 37g
1 tbsp unsalted butter 15g, cold
Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise then use a spoon or knife the scrape the seeds out. Add the milk and vanilla bean to a medium saucepan, heat then place over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.
Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly.
Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using. I whipped some cream up and folded it into my chilled custard to lighten the filling up, this is now technically called diplomat cream.
This recipe makes a good amount of custard but you can make it go further and lighten it up by folding in whipped cream. The whipped cream can be sweetened or just plain. This dreamy combination is called diplomat cream and it's quite lovely.
Try incorporating melted and cooled chocolate for an indulgent variation.
You can also add passion fruit juice for an amazing tropical flavor, or you can add in some other fruit reduction.
This custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.