Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A No-Panic Advent, Part XI: Upcoming Feasts and St. Lucia Bread

Friday is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Catholic Cuisine has easy, doable ideas for "Rosy Treats" here and other festive foods here.

We haven't gone all out for this feast day in the past, because I've always been overwhelmed busy, but not panicked, by other observances. But, this year, I added Tomie de Paola's The Lady of Guadalupe to our book collection. I won't get any special baking done for this feast, but I'll gather a few other resources from the web to share with the girls about Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.

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Saturday is the feast of St. Lucia, and with it comes the Lucia bread:

Do not be intimidated by this yeast bread recipe!

If I can make this bread (and make it look beautiful), anyone can. Really. Trust me on this. This bread is easy. A little time-consuming (for a woman who, when left on her own, could easily eat tuna out of a can and call it a meal) but easy.

And, as I mentioned in this post, if you don't have time to make it this weekend, save the recipe and make it another day. It makes a great King's Bread for the Epiphany, too.

Here's the recipe, which came from my friend, Holly, via Family Fun:

Braided St. Lucia Bread

1 1/2 cups milk
2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 T. sugar
6 T. butter, cut in pieces
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T. finely grated orange rind
1 t. salt
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour

Glaze and garnish:
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2-4 T. orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Warm the milk in a small saucepan, then pour 1/2 cup of it into a large bowl. Add the yeast and 1 T. of the sugar and let it sit for 5 min.

Melt the butter in the remaining milk. Add butter/milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the eggs, juice, 1/4 cup sugar, orange rind, and salt. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 min., adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and doesn't stick to your hands. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat it. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a 30-inch rope and braid the ropes together. Transfer the braid to a greased baking sheet, pinch together the ends to form a circle and let it rise until doubled in size, about 45 min. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min., or until golden brown, then let cool on a wire rack about 30 min.

For the glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over the bread, then garnish with cranberries. Add candles for "wreath."

And here are some things we've done in the past to celebrate St. Lucia:

Made wreaths for daughters and dolls

Found something (anything white) for the girls to wear for a St. Lucia procession through the house, and read Hanna's Christmas.

Employed "flexible homeschooling" in an off-year (i.e., when Ramona was still keeping me up every night, for the third year in a row of her fabulous life), and didn't sweat the imperfection known as "not doing it all" and also known as "moving St. Lucia day to a Saturday," which is not necessary this year, as it conveniently falls on a Saturday.


Liz said...

I guess that this year I'll have to make the St. Lucia bread myself, since my daughter won't be here for St. Lucy's day. She's planning on making the bread in her new home, however. So it looks like an Edmisten family tradition will become a tradition in yet another home.

Anonymous said...

Your St. Lucia bread is BEAUTIFUL!! Hoping to celebrate next year with our little girl...or boy!