“All Soul’s Day (Nov 2) It follows Halloween (Oct 31) (Hallowe’en), or All Hallow’s Eve as it should be called, and (Nov 1) All Saint’s Day (All Hallow’s Day – Hallow being the old English word for Saint) is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints --that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church. All Saints' Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as some protestant churches, such as Lutheran and Anglican churches.
It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.
All Soul’s Day follows an ancient Celtic festival called‘Samhain’ or ‘Feast of the Dead’ and it as kept as fast day with bonfires lit at night, especially on high ground, in order to light the soul’s way to heaven. And that’s where Soul-Cakes come in the British culinary tradition – ‘Souling’ would take place the night before All Soul’s day, where ‘Soulers’ would travel from door to door begging for soul-cakes and spiced ale in return for prayers and songs. It is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead and a day where families visit their family’s graves with pots of chrysanthemums, as an act of remembrance and respect.
Soul cakes are one loaf or little cakes the size of cookies and are more like a cross between a scone and a biscuit, and are very easy to make. They are packed with currants and are flavoured with mixed spice. The little cakes are then marked with a cross before being baked.
175g butter (6ozs)
175g caster sugar (6ozs)
3 egg yolks
450g plain flour (1lb)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
100g currrants (4 ozs)
a little milk to mix
9 ounces self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ounces currants
2 ounces ground almonds
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
6 ounces caster sugar
4 ounces melted butter
1 medium eggs, beaten
extra sugar, for sprinkling
extra cinnamon, for sprinkling
Between a cookie, biscuit and scone these are packed with currants and mixed spice.
Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F/Gas mark 5.
Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
Sift the flour into another bowl with the mixed spice and then add them to the butter, sugar and egg yolk mixture.
Stir in the currants and add enough milk to make a soft dough, similar to scones.
Roll the dough out. Make one big cake loaf or cut out little cakes with a biscuit cutter. Mark each cake with a cross and then place them on a greased and/or lined baking sheet.
Bake the cakes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack and the store in an airtight tin for up to 5 days.”
Recipe and Excerpt from Lavendar and Lovage