Letting go of Christmas seems unusually hard this year. Maybe that’s because so many people really got to the heart of the season by placing the emphasis on sharing time with family and friends, celebrating in church and at home, exchanging handmade or twice given gifts and homemade food.
In a very special way, this Christmas was a time to celebrate the blessings of the Incarnation with those we love before moving into the New Year, as Franciscan Father Curt Kreml, pastor of St. Peter Parish, Point Pleasant Beach, put it, with renewed commitment to be disciples of Jesus.
His moving homily on the very frosty night of Jan. 2 encouraged all within ear shot to “tell God that you rely upon Him for the strength you need. Make Jesus a companion and partner for your walk through life.”
He ended on an appropriately current note, urging all to set the “GPS of your heart on god and His kingdom and follow the Way of the Lord Jesus…”
To read his entire homily, click here
Re-reading Father Curt’s homily, it’s clear the time has come to sally forth into the New Year with renewed inspiration, “taking up,” as he put it, “the practices of faith that will overcome the obstacles to loving more deeply and doing good more completely.”
Still, it’s hard to resist one more backward glance at Christmas, 2009, redolent with light and warm with love despite the challenges of these times on all levels.
So, we’ll bid adieu this year with a bit of a flourish.
Usually taking down the tree is a solitary task. Somehow this year, it seems like a good thing to invite some friends in to help. Of course, if friends are invited in, it’s only fair to greet them with a treat.
An Old Fashioned Epiphany Jam Tart seemed like a tasty thing to offer them in this farewell seasonal salute. The recipe originated in England during Victorian times where it developed quite a following.
It’s enjoying a great Internet resurgence. Countless comments from those who’ve tried it, record pure satisfaction with it’s jewel-like appearance and sweet composition.
Ingredients: 4 cups flour; 2/3 cup sugar; 1/2 tsp cinnamon; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 1/2 cups softened butter; 2 eggs; 4 hard boiled egg yolks; 2 to 4 tb lsp milk; grated rind of one lemon; 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tblsp milk and as many different colors and kinds of thick fruit jams as you can afford.
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; sift 4 cups flour with salt, sugar and cinnamon into a wide bowl. Cut the softened butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture is the texture of fine meal. In a separate bowl, combine the two eggs, hard boiled yolks, liquid and lemon rind. Form a well in the center of the flour and then add the the eggs, yolks, liquid and rind and work the ingredients together with your fingers or a fork until the dough sticks together in a ball, adding more flour or liquid depending on the consistency.
Knead the dough for a minute or two until it is smooth and then wrap it in waxed paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Then, roll out half the dough between sheets of waxed paper to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out the remaining dough in a circle the same size. From the edge of this circle, cut a 1 inch ring that will go around the edge of the pie plate.
Cut the remaining dough into strips. You can use long strips or piece together shorter ones. Arrange the strips of dough accross the top of the pie plate in lattice fashion and edge with the 1-inch ring of pastry.
Then, spoon as many different colored jams as possible into the spaces between the lattice strips. This recipe was adapted from one on recipelink.com which recommended prune, strawbery, raspberry, marmalade, pineapple jams. I added blueberryand lemon curd and think it would be just fine to add whatever you like.
Brush the dough strips with egg yolk glaze and bake in the preheated 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Let it cool down and then gild this seasonal lily if you must with real whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.