A Recipe From The Crusaders

July 14, 2014

In 1096 Godrey de Bouillon (c1060-1100), Duke of Lorraine, joined the First Crusade. It took three years to liberate the Holy City of Jerusalem. Godfrey took the title, Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, Protector of the Holy Sepulchre, instead of King.

In 1096 Godrey de Bouillon (c1060-1100), Duke of Lorraine, joined the First Crusade. It took three years to liberate the Holy City of Jerusalem. Godfrey took the title, Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, Protector of the Holy Sepulchre, instead of King.

July 15th is the anniversary of the conquest of Jerusalem by Duke Godfrey of Bouillon and the First Crusade (1099). We thus offer our readers this panforte (strong bread) recipe, which tradition says hails from Crusader days. Fruits, nuts and honey, all commonly available to Crusaders, are among panforte‘s ingredients.

Panforte

As you bake and enjoy panforte, think of the Crusades, and the forward defense they represented for  medieval Christendom against the power of Islam. Think of the sacrifices and heroism these military expeditions represent. Think of the golden page which the Crusading ideal represents in Christian history and the military orders of chivalry they gave rise to. Think of Pope Blessed Urban II, who inspired by the Holy Ghost, launched the Crusading ideal in the outskirts of Clermont-Ferrand, France, and let your imagination hear the thundering reply rising to Heaven from the throats of thousands of Christian knights: Deus vult! Deus vult!
knight
Ponder further. Think of the plaintive and stinging rebuke made by the Catholic Patriarch of the Chaldeans, Most Rev. Louis Raphael I Sako, just days ago, a bishop whose faithful are being persecuted and martyred at the hands of Muslims today. Ponder the incomprehension and consternation of this prelate at the widespread apathy of the Christian West, which goes wild over a soccer game, but has little to nothing to say regarding the persecution of Catholics in Muslim lands, and offers hardly any help to them.
Most Rev Louis Raphael I Sako

Most Rev Louis Raphael I Sako

Ponder all these things within your heart. Break away from the general consensus and say a prayer for these persecuted Catholics, and thank God that there was a time when millions of Crusaders sacrificed, suffered, fought, and rendered their souls to God, while fighting for the Catholic faith and Christendom against the power of Islam.
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PANFORTE

 

Makes one 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 inch) cake, which can be cut into 32 squares or two 20 cm (4 inch) round cakes Adapted from “Ultimate Recipes – Italian 

 

Ingredients

½ Cup whole almonds, lightly toasted in the oven

½ Cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted in the oven, skins removed and roughly chopped

¼ Cup chopped mixed peel

4 dried unsulfured apricots, finely diced

1 ring crystallized pineapple, finely diced

Grated zest (peel) of ½ large orange

3 ¼ Tablespoon plain flour

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ Cup dark muscuvado (brown) sugar

¼ Cup honey

Icing (confectioners’) sugar to dust (optional) or you can use a white chocolate frosting or any some other white icing that you wish to use.

Panforte, pictured here with the White Chocolate Frosting

Panforte, pictured here with the White Chocolate Frosting

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Line one 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 inch) loaf tin (pan) with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix almonds, hazelnuts, mixed peel, apricots, pineapple, orange zest, plain flour, cocoa and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Gently heat dark muscuvado (brown) sugar and honey in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and boil for 5 minutes. The color will darken.

4. Reduce heat to low. Quickly stir in fruit and nut mix to fully incorporate. Immediately transfer to prepared tin (pan).  Smooth off top surface with the back of a wet spoon.

5. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 20 minutes.

6. Let cool, turn out of tin (pan) leaving parchment paper intact. Once cold, wrap loosely with cling film (plastic wrap). Allow to age at room temperature for 7-10 days, before slicing, dusting with icing sugar and enjoying. Serve as a snack, with coffee or dessert wine.

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