Litha

Summer's here
and the time is right for dancing in the Streets.
Liminal Landscapes
Litha is an ancient solar
celebration also known as:
Midsummer, Alban Hefin,
Sun Blessing, Gathering
Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit
Sunday, Whitsuntide,
Vestalia, Thing-tide, and
St. John's Day.
Directions: In a small saucepan combine milk and 1 tablespoon honey and
heat until warm (90 to 110 degrees) Pour the mixture into bowl of an
electric mixer and sprinkle over yeast. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes,
until yeast has started to bubble. Add eggs, all-purpose flour, sugar, and
salt, and mix until blended. Gradually add all but 2 tablespoons of bread
flour. With breadhook, mix at medium speed until dough is smooth and
elastic, about 5 minutes. Dough should not stick to sides of bowl; if it does,
add a dusting of flour. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing at medium
speed until it is blended into dough. (Dough will be very soft.) Transfer
dough to a work surface and knead by hand a few times to ensure that
butter is completely incorporated into dough. Shape dough into a ball and
transfer it to a medium buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set
aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
Punch dough down to deflate it, and knead it a few times. Return dough to
bowl, cover, and let rise again until doubled in volume. Lightly grease the
bottom and sides of a 9" spring-form pan. Shape dough into a ball and
arrange it, smooth side up, in center of pan. Flatten ball gently with your
palm until it covers bottom of pan. Cover lightly with a lightly greased piece
of plastic wrap and let dough rise a third time until it has doubled, about 1
hour.
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, heat remaining 1/3 cup honey just until warm. Brush
honey over top of dough, then sprinkle with almonds. Bake cake for 30 to 35
minutes, until it is a lovely golden brown and a toothpick inserted into
center of cake comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan, set on a wire rack, for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan
and cool cake on the wire rack completely.

For the Custard: In a large bowl, beat egg yolks well.
Gradually stir in milk until blended. In a large heavy saucepan mix sugar,
cornstarch and salt in. Gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture,
making a smooth paste until all is incorporated. Cook over low heat, stirring
constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil (about 10 minutes)
When mixture begins to boil, time for 1 minute stirring constantly then
remove from heat immediately and cool quickly by setting the pan in an ice
bath.

Assemble cake: Using a long, serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally to
form two layers. Spread custard over bottom layer of cake. Top with other
cake layer. Sprinkle top of cake very lightly with confectioners' sugar and
serve.
You will need:
For cake:
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 large eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter sofened
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

For the vanilla custard
4 egg yokes
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
The Divine Bee
Early civilizations honored the bees. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Indians, and Egyptian wrote about the miracle cures of
honey while the Greeks named it 'the food of the Gods'. Honey is one of the earliest known offertories. "One jar of honey to all
the gods, one jar of honey to the Mistress of the Labyrinth," was written on a Knossos tablet from 1300 BC. Honey has
magickal energy for: beauty, fulfillment, love, and happiness. It is the key ingredient in sweetening spells and Cleopatra's
famed milk bath. Honey can be used to compel someone to speak the truth. In Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
midsummer is celebrated Sun breads or cakes and buns made with honey to bring fertility and abundance to the community
German Bee Sting Cake is drizzled with honey right before baking.
German Bee Sting Cake
also known as Bienenstich cake is rich eggy brioche like cake filled with custard and covered in a sweet and crunchy honey
almond glaze. It is time intensive, as it has 3 rise times and you have to make the custard filling.
At Midsummer we honor the
Mother Goddesses pregnant
with bounty, the goddesses
of love and beauty, sun gods
and sun goddesses.
The agricultural year is
divided into two halves. One
half is characterized by light
or expansion, and the other
by darkness, or contraction.
The solstices mark the
boundaries, the points at
which things begin to change.
Squash Pancakes
Makes 6  4 inch pancakes
You will need:
1 Tablespoon butter melted
1 teaspoon of honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
a good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons almond flour
1 cup grated summer squash, yellow
or zucchini or a combo of each
2 Tablespoons diced green onion
Directions: Combine melted butter and honey and
stir together. Add eggs and mix until incorporated.
Add salt, pepper, and almond flour and mix
together. Add zucchini, green onions, lemon zest
and juice. Mix to form a thin batter.

Heat a nonstick pan. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cold
pressed grapeseed oil works well. Pour 1/4 cup of
batter into hot pan and fry until golden brown. Do
not rush. Let the first side cook until batter has
set, then flip and cook other side until golden
brown. Serve with butter or crème fraîche.
Squash is associated with wholeness of the spirit and fruitfulness of the intuitive mind while lemons bring uplifting
energy for clarity and happiness. Combine the two with the spicy energy of the green onions and you get an
energizing dish to lift your mood, boost your health, and sharpen your senses.