Liturgical living is trending. Tradition is being reignited in unexpected ways, even meal planning.
Since our primary meal was given to us at the Last Supper, we have been giving meals back. All across the universal Church, the faithful have spent the last 2000 years committing prayers of thanksgiving to memory and, more recently, writing them on recipe cards.
Through food, we’ve expressed our thanks for nearly everything Catholic: the events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, the feasts of our favorite saints, the first reception of the sacraments. Like many devotions that have suffered some neglect over the last half-century, these recipes are making a comeback.
Last year in an Advent homily, Fr. Edwin Dwyer said, “We are going to look, and sound, and smell vastly different from the rest of the world on Sundays.” So why wouldn’t traditional recipes come back? Many Catholics want to look more Catholic at home too. Every day. How we “look, and sound, and smell” Catholic at home must come from the celebration of more of the Church’s feasts and seasons.
If you have considered giving liturgical living a try but didn’t know where to start, here are three recipes to help you bring the liturgy home this October and November.
October 22 | The Feast of St. John Paul II
Enjoy the great pope’s favorite dessert, Kremówka papieska, or Papal Cream Cake, a name it was given during his pontificate. Cooking with the Saints has a terrific, and fairly easy, recipe.
- One 17-ounce packaged frozen puff pastry, thawed
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 12 large egg yolks, beaten
- Confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry on the baking pan, and score each sheet with a knife into 9 or more even sections. Do not cut all the way through the dough. Cover each sheet with parchment paper, and place a wire cooling rack or a baking sheet on top. This will keep the pastry flat and allow it to bake.
Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the pastry cream, start by dissolving the cornstarch in 2 cups of cold milk, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt over medium-low heat, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Add the milk with the dissolved cornstarch by pouring it through a fine-mesh sieve to avoid adding lumps. Return to a boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Add the egg yolk, and continue stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and set the saucepan in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Do not chill the cream because it will be poured hot over the puff pastry.
To assemble the cake, use a dish or pan the size of the puff pastry sheets as a mold. Place one layer of the puff pastry in the bottom of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the top, and place the second layer of the puff pastry over the filling. Refrigerate the cake until the filling is set.
When ready to serve, using the prescored marks as guides, cut into 9 or more pieces. Dust each piece with confectioners’ sugar. Refrigerate the leftovers.
November 2 | All Souls Day
Another important Polish recipe you need to try this year is specific to Krakow. Miodek turecki is a homemade candy sold at churches and cemeteries for those praying for their loved ones. Sarah Tastsidis, owner of Tasteful Travel Luxury Tours, shares this delicious recipe.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of crushed walnuts
- a flat teaspoon of vanilla sugar
- half a flat teaspoon of soda
- 2 tablespoons of honey
Heat sugar in a heavy-based pan until it is melted. Add vanilla sugar and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and cook for a minute. Add crushed nuts and honey to the pan. Everything should be mixed thoroughly. Take off the heat and pour onto a plate, where the mass will harden. Once cooled split into pieces and serve.
November 8 |The Feast of St. Martin of Tours
If you want to celebrate with something other than dessert, celebrate Martinmas. Legend says St. Martin tried to avoid being ordained bishop by hiding in a goose pen but was discovered because of the excited geese. The tradition of eating goose on his feast quickly spread throughout Europe. This recipe comes from The Vatican Cookbook.
St. Martin’s Goose
- Goose, about 9 lbs
- Sea salt
- 1lb. Chestnuts, shelled and steamed
- 1lb. Russet apples, cored and sliced (substitute Golden Delicious)
- 1 Sprig mugwort (substitute watercress leaves)
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Wash the goose and pat it dry. Rub with salt inside and out. Mix the steamed chestnuts and sliced apples with the mugwort, and stuff the goose. Lay the goose on a roasting pan, breast side down, and add the 3 inches of water. Place in the oven. After 15 minutes, prick the goose skin with a fork. After about 90 minutes, turn the goose over. Baste the goose frequently while it roasts for about 3 hours, especially in the last 30 minutes.
Roast until the skin is crispy. Then remove the goose from the oven, take it out of the roasting pan, and let it rest at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 450 and return the roasting pan to the oven to let the juices brown in the oven to make gravy. Pour off the excess fat.
Carve the goose, and spoon gravy over it just before serving.
Is there another feast you want to celebrate but don’t know of any traditions associated with it? Consider foods that tend to appear at every celebration but are not eaten every day. Pick up some macarons or cannoli on a feast you want to observe. If you want to fix something yourself, try this hummus from, Jeff Young, the Catholic Foodie.
- 2 cans of chick peas, rinsed OR 30 ounces of dried beans that have been prepared beforehand
- ½ cup of tahini
- juice of 1 whole lemon
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil (to start)
- ¼ cup of water (to start)
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Put chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, and olive oil, salt and cayenne in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until it becomes the consistency of hummus. You will probably need to add more olive oil or water. Just do so slowly. Taste. Taste. Taste. You don’t want the hummus too thick or too runny. Make it to your liking. Also, add as much salt and cayenne as you like. Just remember to do so slowly. Place hummus into a round flat dish. Drizzle liberally with extra-virgin olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with hot pita bread.
Rediscovering the beauty of the Catholic faith in the old ways of prayer includes some of the old prayers of thanksgiving, food. There are so many other great recipes to discover but to more deeply understand liturgical living, these two books will be quite useful: The Catholic All Year Compendium and The Catholic Home. Start slowly. Pick a few feasts you want to celebrate in the next few months and research how they have been celebrated in the past. Collect some recipes. Along with sitting down to a special meal, prepare with a novena, go to Mass, or choose a few special prayers to say. It won’t be long before your home seems a little different—new flavors and smells, more prayer, more gratitude.
Like this idea of living liturgically, but looking for short-cuts? Check out Feast Day! A Catholic Club that delivers the supplies you need to celebrate feast days right to your home.
- Dwyer, Fr. Edwin. “Young Hope: Homily for the First Sunday of Advent.” Young Hope: Homily for the First Sunday of Advent., Facebook, 2 Dec. 2018, https://www.facebook.com/notes/pater-eddie-dwyer/young-hope-homily-for-the-first-sunday-of-advent/10156830018627442/.
- Geisser, David, et al. The Vatican Cookbook: Presented by the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Sophia Institute Press, 2016.
- Greeley, Alexandra. Cooking with the Saints. Sophia Institute Press, 2019.
- Tastsidis, Sarah. “Halloween Traditions, Foods and Recipes from around the World.” Tasteful Travel, 31 Oct. 2018, http://www.tasteful-travel.co.uk/tasteful_travel_blog/halloween-season-recipes-from-around-the-world.Young, Jeff. “Lebanese Hummus and Homemade Pita Bread.” The Catholic Foodie, 7 June 2014, https://catholicfoodie.com/lebanese-hummus-and-homemade-pit