April 23 is St Georges Day in England. St George has been the patron saint since his death in AD 303. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. From the 15th century, St George’s Day used to be a national holiday in England, and was celebrated as widely as Christmas. But the celebrations waned by the end of the 18th century and sadly today it is not even a national holiday.
The most widely recognized symbol of St George’s Day is St George’s cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as a flag. It is used as England’s national flag, forming part of the Union Flag, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. While “St Georges Day is not celebrated to a great degree across England it is however an important day for the royal family. The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George as England’s patron saint, and is bestowed on recipients from Her Majesty’s 54 Commonwealth realms.
Garter Day represents the best in British pomp and Pageantry when at Windsor Castle each year the Knights of the Garter gather for a ceremony at St Georges Chapel, Windsor and then form a procession up to Windsor Castle where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II hosts a lunch party. While the entree changes every year the dessert stays the same… “Framboises St George” A sort of Raspberry fool shaped like the English flag.
Here’s the recipe from the royal kitchens for you to make at home to celebrate St Georges Day…
Framboises St Georges
To make an authentic Raspberries St George you will need a rectangular dish like the one shown in the picture. This will make it easier for your guests to identify the Cross of Saint George. By the way, the Cross of St. George is the true flag of England, not the Union flag (Jack) as most everyone supposes. Of course, if you are not feeling compelled to create the English flag, you can assemble the fools in individual balloon wine glasses topped with fresh raspberries, fresh mint and whipped cream. If you really want to WOW your friends, serve this dish alongside the shortbread from the Balmoral section of my cookbook Eating Royally, recipes and remembrances from a palace kitchen. Bet you don’t get any leftovers.
1 quart fresh raspberries, divided
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract paste
Puree half (2 cups) of the fresh raspberries to a pulp. Strain them through a fine sieve to remove all seeds. In a large bowl whip the heavy cream with the granulated sugar and vanilla extract until stiff. Without over beating, carefully fold the raspberry puree into the whipped cream mix and set aside.
In the rectangular serving dish arrange the remaining fresh raspberries side by side so as to make a large red cross in the dish. Lay another layer of raspberries on top. Divide the raspberry fool into the four corners of the dish taking care not to disturb the raspberry cross in the center. Using a spatula smooth the fool until each of the four quarters are flat.
Place additional whipped cream in a piping bag with a star tube. Highlight the whole raspberry cross by piping small rosettes of cream along each sides of the cross.
Makes 10 servings