Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scones for the Annunciation, March 25

The Annunciation is a solemn feast in the Catholic Church. It is a pivotal event in the life of the human race. God, the creator of the human family, sends one of his angels, Gabriel, to a young, virgin named Mary to ask her to become the mother of his Son. Gabriel greets Mary, "Hail full of Grace." Luke 1:28 The greeting troubles Mary. More troubling is the angel's message "Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus." Luke 1:30 -31  Mary questions the angel, "How will this be, since I do not know man?" Luke 1:34  And the angel replied that the child would be of the Holy Spirit. And he continued that her cousin, Elizabeth,  had conceived in her old age. Mary replied to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

 St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that when Mary responded in the affirmative to God's plan, she was affirming for the whole human race. For humanity had lost through the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, the grace and friendship intended for the whole human family. On the solemnity of  the Annunciation, we celebrate the acceptance by Mary of God's desire that she become the mother of his Divine Son. When the Virgin Mary replied in the affirmative to the angel, the Son of God became flesh in her womb.

The Annunciation and the conception of the Son of God in Mary's womb resulting from her, "Yes," and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit are great events for the whole human race and for each of us personally. Mary's, "Yes," changed the course of the human family's descent into sin and death to an ascent into grace and eternal life. It was an auspicious beginning, albeit a quiet one. It should cause us great joy and happiness when we consider how radical a change it made and continues to make in the souls of men and women, if we let it. God became man so that He might suffer and die for us and restore what was lost by our first parents, God's friendship and grace. This is why we celebrate the Annunciation both as a solemn feast because it is a principal mystery of the faith, and as a cause of joy for Christians because it was the beginning in time when the Word of God became man.

So let us celebrate by going to Mass if possible, reading of this event, Luke 1:26-38, or praying the Angelus. Enjoying a nice meal with family and friends or a special treat is another way to recognize the Annunciation's signficance.  Below is a recipe for Orange Scones which I made for the feast. It is a simple but, nevertheless, enjoyable treat, especially since the Annunciation falls during Lent when scones have been left off the menu at our house!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 tbsp. finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice 
l large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place racks in upper and lower third positions. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together. With pastry blender work butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. With a fork, stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk, orange zest and orange juice, egg yolk, and poppy seeds just until combined.
3. On lightly floured surface, place dough and knead several times. Form dough into a 7 inch square; cut into 9 squares, then cut each in half diagonally. Transfer dough triangles to two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Brush tops of scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until scones are lightly golden, 15 - 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool on wire racks. Serve with butter and jam if desired.
This recipe is taken from Martha Stewart Living, 2014 with minor adjustments.


Without sugar on top


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