Recipe: Pomme d’Amour
Happy Valentine’s Day! In many countries February 14th is the day of romance. Where does it come from exactly?
Valentine’s Day has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. The Lupercalia was a Roman festival celebrated on the 15th Day of February. In the Roman calendar February was later in the year and so the Lupercalia was a spring festival.
Before the times of the great city of Rome the Lupercalia was a very “joyous” occasion! For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year. We told you it was very “joyous”!
Pope Gelasius I was less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year. Equals rights for women and men! Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine’s name.
There was also a conventional belief in Europe during the Middle Ages that birds chose their partners in the middle of February. Thus the day was dedicated to love, and people observed it by writing love letters and sending small gifts to their beloved. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day here is the recipe of La Pomme d’Amour -literally The Apple Of Love– that is how we name Candy Apple in French! More romantic indeed!
- Unsalted butter, for parchment paper
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, (optional)
- 6 medium apples, or 12 lady apples
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment, and set aside. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool.
Hum…delicious! Don’t you think it taste like love?
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