Catholic Recipe: Frangipane Cream
Also Called: frangipani
This beloved saint, who called birds and animals his "little brothers," was so abstemious in all his ways that it is quite surprising to find even one incident in his life that is concerned with food.
It is said that whenever Francis visited Rome he was sheltered in the home of a Roman noblewoman, Lady Jacoba, widow of the knight Gratiano Frangipani. She was so dedicated to works of charity that Francis dubbed her "Brother Jacoba," and he gave her a little lamb from among the animals he kept around him. It was at Jacoba's house that the saint first tasted a sweet made of almonds and sugar. The flavor must have stayed with him in memory, because as he lay dying, he wrote a letter to the Roman widow. In it he asked her to bring whatever was needed for his burial, and he added, "Bring me also, I beg thee, some of those good things thou gavest me to eat in Rome."
Before the letter could be sent, Jacoba, her two sons, and servants arrived, bringing everything needed, including the sweetmeats. But Francis did not have strength enough to eat them and directed they be given to the others in his community.
Here is a modern version of Frangipane, frequently used today as a cake filling. Serve it on October 4, the feast of St. Francis Assisi.
Scald milk. Combine sugar, flour, and egg yolks in top of double boiler; set over hot water; beat until light. Add scalded milk gradually; mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until boiling point is reached. Remove from heat. Beat in butter, chopped almonds, and vanilla. Continue to beat until steaming stops, to prevent crusting. Cool. Use as filling for cake.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965