Patron Saint of political prisoners, imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and captives, women in labour, as well as horses
Saint Leonard's Story
According to unreliable sources, he was a Frank courtier who was converted by St. Remigius, refused the offer of a See from his godfather, King Clovis I, and became a monk at Micy. He lived as a hermit at Limoges and was rewarded by the king with all the land he could ride around on a donkey in a day for his prayers, which were believed to have brought the Queen through a difficult delivery safely. He founded Noblac monastery on the land so granted him, and it grew into the town of Saint-Leonard. He remained there evangelizing the surrounding area until his death. He is invoked by women in labor and by prisoners of war because of the legend that Clovis promised to release every captive Leonard visited. His feast day is November 6.
The Romanesque church of St Leonard in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, Haute-Vienne, France
Flambéed Candied Chestnut Cake
This rich cake is delicious served with a dollop of crème fraîche or with a scoop of white truffle ice cream and shaved white truffles.
3 cups (about 12 3/4 ounce)
plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided,
plus more for dusting pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter (16 ounces),
at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon crème fraîche, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 1/2 ounces drained canned candied
chestnuts in syrup (about 8 nuts), quartered
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cognac
Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir together 3 cups flour and salt in a medium bowl. Grease and flour a 10-inch (10- to 15-cup) Bundt pan. Set both aside.
Place sugar and butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully incorporated after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl after every 2 eggs. With mixer running on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with heavy cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in crème fraîche and vanilla.
Toss together chestnuts and remaining 2 tablespoons flour until well coated. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan; top with chestnuts. Add remaining batter, and smooth top. Tap cake pan on work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack, and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
To serve, transfer cake to a heatproof rimmed serving platter. Place Cognac in a heatproof measuring cup with a spout. Heat a small saucepan over medium until warm, about 30 seconds. Remove saucepan from heat, turn off burner, and pour in Cognac. Using a long match or lighter, carefully ignite fumes just above surface of Cognac. Slowly and carefully pour flaming liquid over cake. Allow flames to extinguish before slicing and serving.