(from “The Joy of Cooking”)
*for the Feast of St. Stephen and to celebrate Boxing Day*
Makes about 30 Small Cakes
“Saint Stephen with a rose
In and out of the garden he goes
Country garland in the wind and the rain
Wherever he goes the people all complain”
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Have ingredients at about 75 degrees.
Sift: 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Sift before measuring: 1/3 cup cake flour and Resift 3 times!
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
Beat until thick and lemon colored
2 egg whites
Whip until stiff, but not dry
Add and Fold the sifted sugar gradually into the whipped egg whites.
Beat the mixture until it thickens again.
Add and Fold in the egg yolk mixture and:
Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Add and Fold in the sifted cake flour.
Shape the dough into oblongs with a paper tube
Place the dough on ungreased paper on a baking sheet;
or pour into greased ladyfinger molds.
Bake about 12 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove the baking sheet from oven.
Immediately slide the parchment paper (with the ladyfingers) onto a wire rack.
Let cool for just a minute and remove them from the paper using a flat spatula or knife.
Cool completely on wire rack. (If they cool before removing them, they may stick and are hard to remove without breaking)
Ladyfingers are best fresh on the day they are made. To freeze, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and store frozen for up to one month.
Ladyfingers are long, thin sponge cakes shaped like a large finger. Also known as Boudoir biscuits, sponge biscuits, sponge fingers, Naples biscuits, Savoy biscuits and biscuits la cuiller. They can be served with desserts like ice creams, custards and coffees, and they are used as a component in other desserts. Ladyfingers can be either soft and cakey or dry and crispy, but they always have a sponge-like texture. Their texture makes them a perfect choice for soaking up flavors, which is why they are frequently used in other desserts. Ladyfingers are usually plain with a neutral taste, but can be flavored with any extract, a bit of citrus zest, cocoa or spice to give them a flavor that stands out.
“Stephen prosper in his time
Well he may and he may decline
Did it matter? does it now?
Stephen would answer if he only knew how”
St. Stephen’s Day (Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Lá an Dreoilín),
commemorates the life of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr who was stoned to death. The second day of Christmas is also called Boxing Day, Wren Day or Constitution Day.
St. Stephen’s Feast Day (Il giorno di Santo Stefano) is celebrated as a public holiday in Italy, the United Kingdom, most of Europe and Canada on December 26.
Traditionally in the United Kingdom, Boxing Day was a holiday when employers gave money, food, tools, cloth, clothing or other valuable goods to their employees. In modern times, Boxing Day is a bank holiday and a day for sporting events and the start of post-Christmas sales. Some schools, businesses and organization are closed for the entire week between Christmas and New Years Day.
St. Wenceslaus was a Bohemian prince born in 903 AD and killed in 938 AD. He is the patron Saint of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and his Feast is on September 28. The Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslaus” uses an old medieval melody about springtime, “Tempus adest florid” and mentions the Feast of St. Stephen:
“Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”
St. Stephen was the first Deacon of the Christian church. A Deacon is supposed to care for the poor and St. Stephen’s Day is a day of charity for giving food, money and other items to servants, sevice workers, and the needy. St. Stephen is also the patron of stone masons, people with headaches and horses.
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“Saint Stephen” performed by the Grateful Dead
written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter
originally released on the 1969 studio album “Aoxomoxoa”
Saint Stephen/Not Fade Away/Saint Stephen/Morning Dew
Cornell University, Barton Hall, Ithaca, NY on 5/8/77 >
A recording of the Grateful Dead at Barton Hall, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on 5/8/77 was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012!
“Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers aplenty in the bye and bye
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills”
and HAPPY BOXING DAY!