I love, love, love these long, sun-kissed days just around Litha, when I wake up bathed in golden light and fall asleep while it's still barely dusk. For this year's celebration, I'm making Aprhodite's Cakes, which use just a hint of rosewater (now available at Whole Foods so don't give me that "where the fuck would I buy that?" stuff) from a recipe that I pulled, years ago, out of Sage Woman. Surfing the web, I was delighted to find a post by the original author.
Remembering that all acts of love and pleasure (including, especially, eating) are rituals of the Goddess, you should go read the whole thing.
Here's a tiny taste:
[Rosewater] is particularly effective when combined with its kin, the bramblefruits: raspberries and blackberries. Because they are cousins to roses, these fruits really shine when they are kissed with the essence of the Queen of Flowers. Rosewater is subtle with these fruits, sliding into the flavor mix like a nymph sinking into water, until she is but a shimmer beneath the surface: you know it is there, but you cannot tell what it is. It is only a flowery scent, a flicker of something familiar that is just maddening to the senses, but that cannot be grasped: the nymph dances laughingly beyond the satyr’s reach.
Last year, my friends, the very friendly and very healthy hippie organic farmers at the farmer’s market, had a banner crop of blackberries, so they were selling these plump, shining beauties for next to nothing. These berries were so soft, so yielding and so full of sugar, that you could barely pick them up without bruising them and being stained with roseate juice. Just driving home with them filled my car with a miasma of sweetness, and when I brought them into the house, my kitchen smelled like the very tumescent essence of summer Herself.
I ate some by themselves, but I also decided to create a fitting frame for these lovely wonders. I baked a batch of sweet cream scones, a very rich and short pastry that is still moist, due to the addition of cream. They are not overly sweet however, because they did not need to be: the berries were dripping with fructose by themselves. I took some of the berries, the prettiest, and left them whole. The others, I macerated with just a touch of sugar to get them to release their juices, a squeezing of lemon juice to balance the sweetness with a note of acid, a goodly dollop of Chambord to add richness, and a few crystalline drops of rosewater to deepen the flavors.
I split the scones while they were barely warm, and spooned macerated berries over the first layer, then laid a spoonful of softly whipped, barely sweetened cream over it. I capped it with the top of the scone, added another spoonful of berries and juice, then the cream, and topped it all with three whole, perfect berries.
The recipe for Aphrodite's Cakes is available at the link above. The one bit of advice that I'll give is to use about half as much rosewater as you think you should use. There's a very, very, very fine line between an orgasmic sense that you're consuming the essence of a water nymph dancing just outside the grasp of saytr and a "need to go get a drink" sense of having consumed perfume. But, seriously, how can you not make them when you read this:
Chef Rainer, who is also from Bavaria, took a bite, and had a bit of a swoon. He finished it, opened his eyes, and said, in his accented baritone “It is like going to Church. It is better than communion. What do you call it?” I said, “Aphrodite’s Cakes.” And he smiled, and said, “Which would you rather eat, Christ, or Aphrodite?” I don't know about you, but even as a very straight woman, I know the answer to that.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."