July 22: Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene
Although Salt Lake City, Utah, is Mormon territory, there is also a sizable Catholic community present there as well, since the area was once part of Mexico. When we were in SLC during one of Highlander’s work projects, we had an opportunity to visit the Cathedral of the Madeleine on one of his afternoons off. The cathedral, which is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church of Utah, is the only one in America under the patronage of St. Mary Magdalene. Construction of the cathedral began in 1900 and was completed nine years later. It features a Romanesque exterior and a Gothic interior. Gargoyles, stained glass windows and classical-style murals and sculptures add an artistic flair to this historic building.
Following the French form of the name of St. Mary Magdalene, we made “madeleines,” a tasty tea cake known for its scallop shell shape. Although there are conflicts in history on how these cakes got their name, madeleines have been popularized by Proust, a 19th century author, in his book, “In Search of Lost Time,” in which he described that eating a madeleine prompted a childhood memory.
Make some madeleines to remember St. Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner and famous female follower of Jesus Christ, on her feast day.
(Adapted from Wilton)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cup cake flour
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest
Melt the butter and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and pinch of salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and frothy.
Mix in the orange or lemon zest. Gradually stir in the melted butter (hot butter will curdle and cook the eggs). Fold in the flour mixture and blend until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap/film and refrigerate for 15 minutes to thicken the batter.
Grease the madeleine pan and sprinkle a little flour on it. Place 1 ½ tablespoons of the batter onto the wells of the pan. Do not overfill. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until firm. The madeleines will rise and puff out into their distinctive shell-shapes during the baking process. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack, tapping to release the madeleines. Separate the madeleines so they do not stick together. Cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with tea. Yield: Approximately 2 – 2½ dozen.
- We bought our madeleine pan from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is cheaper than buying it at Williams-Sonoma, especially with a coupon!
- Diagonally dip the scalloped ends of the madeleines in melted chocolate and cool to set for an extra-indulgent snack.
- Find other French recipes and saint day foods by searching the recipe list on our blog.