Catholic Recipe: Summer Apple Cake
The smart cook keeps an eye on the barometer as well as her oven thermometer on July 15. That's because the day belongs to St. Swithin. He lived in the ninth century, has always been acclaimed as a "weather saint." It is said that if it rains on July 15, it will continue to rain for forty days thereafter. Of course, if the sun shines on this day, there will be forty days of fair weather.
St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain St. Swithin's day if thou be fair For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.
St. Swithin served as counselor to the Saxon king Egbert and later became Bishop of Winchester. Little is known about him except that his feast day is celebrated on the date when his relics were removed from their humble grave and placed in a shrine especially built in his honor. Many miraculous cures were said to have occurred there.
The food associated with St. Swithin in legend and poetry is the apple, and his blessing is asked each year by the apple growers. The ideal dessert for this feast day would be one made of the crisp summer apples that are just appearing in orchards and markets at this time. The Roman Martyrology mentions St. Swithin's birthday (day he died) on July 2. July 15 is usually celebrated as St. Swithin's day, the day his relics were transferred. His feast is not observed on the General Roman Calendar.
Combine biscuit mix and 1/3 cup sugar. Combine eggs and cream; stir into biscuit mix with fork. Spread dough in bottom of greased 8-inch spring form pan. Arrange apple slices on top, pressing cut edges slightly into dough. Combine spices and 1/4 cup sugar; sprinkle over apples. Pour melted butter evenly over all. Cover top with foil. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Remove foil; bake 20 minutes longer or until apples are tender and dough tests done. Remove from pan. Serve warm, cut into wedges, with Lemon Sauce (see recipe) or Hard Sauce (see recipe). Makes 6 to 8 servings.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965