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Catholic Recipe: Potato Cake


  • 1 pound potatoes, cooked, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butter melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup flour


Yield: 2 dozen

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: Ireland


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Also Called: Ciste Pratai

October 31 has a two-fold significance: it is the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and also one of the days on which in pre-Christian times wild masquerades were held in order to frighten the demons away at the approach of the dark evenings of winter.

As vigil of the feast of All Saints, October 31 used to be a day of strict fast and abstinence. This is still reflected in the traditional fare: the meals consist of meatless dishes, mostly made of potatoes.

In the countries of Europe that once belonged to the Roman Empire the custom has survived of eating or giving away apples and serving dishes made of apples. This tradition also spread to neighboring countries: to Ireland and Scotland from Britain, and to the Slavic nations from Austria and Bavaria. It seems to be based on the ancient Roman festival of Pomona, the goddess of orchards and fruits. Since the feast of Pomona was kept on November 1, this observance became part of our Halloween celebrations, such as the familiar custom of "ducking" for apples.


Sprinkle salt, melted butter, ginger over mashed potatoes. Knead with enough flour to make pliable paste. Roll out. Cut into small farls (biscuit shape cut into 4 triangles). Fry in bacon fat or bake at 350┬░ until golden brown. Coat with sugar.

Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965