How To Make Ricotta Honey Cakes
Today we are feasting with… Saint Valentine.
This recipe is a take on the traditional Roman “cheesecake” consisting of a dense, ricotta cake, sweetened with honey. The perfect treat to share with the ones you love most.
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Drawing from his own pastoral experience as a priest and bishop before he became Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla has produced a remarkably eloquent and resourceful defense of Catholic tradition in the sphere of family life and sexual morality. His approach ensures that non-Christians also can consider the arguments in Love & Responsibility on their own merits.
Surprisingly, we don’t have much information about Saint Valentine. However, we can generally accept several accounts that have furthered his renown in modern times.
The most common narrative describes Valentine as a priest of Rome, or as a former Bishop of Terni, in central Italy. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught performing weddings for Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time persecuted by Claudius II in Rome. It was a crime to help Christians during this time.
While under house arrest by the order of Judge Asterius, Valentine began discussing his faith with him. Valentine was proclaiming the validity of Jesus, so the judge put Valentine to the test, and brought his adopted blind daughter to be healed. If Valentine succeeded in restoring the girl’s sight, Asterius pledged to do whatever he asked. Valentine, praying to God, laid his hands on her eyes. Thankfully, God restored the child’s vision and humbled Asterius. The judge asked Valentine what he should do. Valentine told the judge to break all of the idols around the house and to fast for three days. After fasting, Asterius should undergo the Christian sacrament of Baptism. The judge obeyed and, as a result of his fasting and prayer, freed all the Christian inmates under his authority.
From Your Valentine
According to legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself. He sent the greeting to the jailor’s daughter as she would often visit him during his confinement. Saint Valentine allegedly signed the letter “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
Unfortunately, emperor Claudius II had Valentine arrested again for continuing to evangelize. Claudius took a liking to him… that is until Valentine tried to convince him to embrace Christianity. He refused Christianity and condemned Valentine to death. Claudius II ordered his men to beat Valentine with clubs and stones. When that failed to kill him, the men beheaded Valentine outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269.
Saint Valentine is the patron of beekeepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people.
Saint Valentine, pray for us.
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- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Ricotta
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 6 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 cup Honey, warmed
- Preheat an oven to 425°F.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl add the flour.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat the ricotta cheese until creamy.
- Add the egg and the vanilla, beat until smooth, approximately 1 minute.
- Stir the ricotta mixture into the flour.
- Mix until just combined.
- On a floured surface, turnout the dough and knead until soft.
- Divide into six rounds.
- Place six bay leaves onto the sheet pan and top with dough rounds.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Heat the honey in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Place the cakes on a serving dish and evenly pour warmed honey over each.
- Let sit for approximately 30 minutes, to allow honey to be absorbed.