All Souls Day is very much a Catholic teaching. The Church tells us that “all who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
Although All Souls Day is primarily a Catholic Holy Day, it is observed by Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Church and even a scattering of Protestant denominations. However; often the observance is not in the same light as Catholics. The understanding and acceptance of purgatory is very much rooted in Catholic doctrine. Very few Protestants accept the existence of purgatory because their doctrine teaches that once you accept Christ as Savior, it’s an automatic ticket to heaven. Nothing further is required except to live a good Christian life. The idea of a cleansing process after death is viewed as an insult to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Protestants and Catholics alike recognize themselves as sinners. The difference is that Protestants feel once they have entered into a relationship with Christ, their sins past, present and future are all forgiven, washed clean by the blood of Jesus on the cross. Catholics believe the same thing, but in conjunction with the sacrament of confession and purification. When Jesus was on the cross, he cried out “Father, why have you forsaken me?” It was at that moment when He took on the sins of the world. Sin separates us from God. Christ felt alone in that moment, before the forgiveness of sin through His sacrifice was achieved.
Catholics believe it was this sacrifice that allows for purification. The idea of purgatory has been a part of Catholic teachings since the very beginning of the Church. Protestants often site a lack of scripture supporting the existence of purgatory. This stems from the differences between Protestant and Catholic Bibles and the seven books of the Old Testament that are contained in the Catholic Bible. Prior the the Protestant Reformation, the doctrine of purgatory was held by pre-Christian Jews, post-Christian Jews, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox; readily accepted as faith. After the Reformation, the idea of purgatory and some of the texts that supported its existence was removed from most Bibles used by Protestants today.
I suppose one could argue that just because Catholics believe in purgatory and therefor the need to pray for the dead doesn’t mean purgatory exists. But then the same argument could be made that just because you don’t accept the existence of purgatory doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
For those who believe, All Souls Day is all about praying for the dead who have gone before us. To do so is a healing process not only for our departed loved ones, but for ourselves as well. Prayer requires forgiveness and compassion. Through prayer, the living are also healed, less fractured in our grief. God is truly amazing, beyond our ability to comprehend.
Last year for All Souls Day, I took a page from an old tradition of baking Soul Cakes to hand out to children on All Souls Day. These cakes are more akin to cookies, and go lovely with a cup of tea. In keeping with that same Tea Time theme, we’ve taken the Soul Cakes one step further. This year, since today is also National Deviled Egg Day, we needed to include a Classic Deviled Egg along with our Canapés and tea cakes. Enjoy!
All Souls Day Tea
Roast Beef Baguette Canapés
Classic Deviled Eggs
Lavender Tea Cakes
1 tablespoon White Onion
1 tablespoon Chives
2 Garlic Clove
1 cup Mayonnaise
3 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/8 teaspoon Dried Oregano,
1/8 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/8 teaspoon Dried Basil Parsley Flakes
1/8 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
2 medium Cucumbers
Diced Pimientos for garnish
Fresh Dill for garnish
1/2 loaf White Bread
1/2 loaf Rye Bread
Cut a small section of white onion. Peel and grate the piece of onion, place in a blender. Snip chives, add to the onion. Peel and mince garlic, add to the blender mixture.
Add mayonnaise, cream cheese, vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and seasonings to the blender. Cover and process until blended and smooth. Transfer to a bowl, refrigerate for a day for flavors to fully develop.
When ready, score and trim ends from the cucumbers, discard ends. Thinly slice remaining cucumbers, set aside. Drain pimientos on paper towels, set aside. Snip fresh dill for a garnish, set aside.
With a a 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut circles from the center of each bread slice. Spread mayonnaise mixture over bread; top with cucumber slices. Garnish with pimientos and dill. Arrange on a platter or tiered serving tray.
Roast Beef Baguette Canapés
1-1/2 lbs Roast Beef, sliced
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2/3 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoon fresh Tarragon, minced
2 tablespoons Prepared Horseradish
1 French Bread Baguette
2 tablespoons Capers, rinsed
1 bunch Watercress
1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Either cook a small roast beef to medium-rare, then slice into 16 thin slices or buy roast beef slices from your favorite deli. Season sliced beef with pepper, sprinkle with lemon juice; then chill until ready to use.
In a bowl, whisk together sour cream, mustard and horseradish. Mince tarragon, add to the sour cream mixture. Cover and chill for flavors to develop.
When ready to assemble, slice baguette into 16 rounds, set aside. Drain and rinse capers, set aside. Snip watercress, set aside.
Arrange watercress evenly on bread slices. Place 1 beef slice and about 1 tablespoon chilled sauce over each bread slice. Divide capers and shaved Parmesan evenly over sauce.
Arrange canapés on a serving platter or tiered serving tray.
Note: The original recipe featured on myrecipes.com called for Seared Beef Tenderloin and included instructions for preparing the tenderloin. While I think that would be incredibly delicious, the expense of a beef tenderloin can be avoided simply by substituting roast beef.
Classic Deviled Eggs
1/2 tablespoon Baking Soda
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste
Paprika for color
Parsley for garnish
Place eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water. Add baking soda, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and let steep for 15 minutes.
While the eggs steep, prepare an ice bath. Place very cold water with ice into a bowl to hold the eggs. When ready, crack egg shells, plunge eggs in ice bath and let cool for 20 minutes prior to peeling.
Peel eggs, cut in half lengthwise. Place yolks in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Arrange 12 of the best whites on a serving tray, set aside.
Note: Since not every egg will peel perfectly, it’s always good to boil 1 or 2 extra. The extra yolks give more filling
Process yolks to crumble. Add mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar. Pulse to combine. Season with salt to taste.
Spoon yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star. Pipe filling into the egg whites. Cover and refrigerate to chill well.
When ready to serve, sprinkle eggs with a little paprika for a splash of color. Arrange parsley around the tray for more color.
Lavender Tea Cakes with Vanilla Bean Glaze
For the Pan
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Sugar
For the cakes Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a small bowl, melt butter. Whisk sugar into the melted butter together. Brush the insides of a 12-cup muffin tin with butter-sugar mixture. Set aside.
6 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup Buttermilk
2 large Eggs
2/3 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground Dried Lavender,
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Cut butter into 6 pieces, allow to soften. Bring buttermilk and eggs to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk, lavender, and vanilla together; set aside.
Fit stand mixer with paddle. Cream butter with sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat between additions until combined.
Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions. Scrape down bowl as needed between additions. Once the final addition of flour has been added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Give batter final gentle stir by hand.
Using a ladle or cupcake scoop, divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Smooth tops. Bake in the heated oven until golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 15 minutes total. Rotate muffin tin halfway through for even baking.
Let cakes cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert muffin tin over wire rack and gently tap pan several times to help cakes release. Let cakes cool completely on rack, bottom side up, about 30 minutes.
Note: Cakes will be glazed bottom side up.
1 Vanilla Bean
1-3/4 cups Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk or more as needed
Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With the tip of paring knife, scrape out seeds. Whisk vanilla seeds, powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons milk together in bowl until smooth.
Gradually add additional milk as needed, teaspoon by teaspoon, until glaze is thick but pourable. Spoon glaze over top of each cooled cake, letting some drip down sides. Let glaze set for 10 minutes before serving.
Rosemary Sprigs as desired
Fresh Lavender as desired
Arrange cakes on a serving tray. If desired, garnish with fresh Rosemary and lavender just before serving.