Saint Teresa of Avila was called the “girl with the fiery spirit – an inspired blend of mystical power with down-to-earth common sense and quick wit. She is one of the most striking figures in the Roman Catholic Church. Together with Saint John of the Cross she gave Avila its reputation as a birthplace of the saints.
Teresa was born in Avila in 1515 and grew up there, and this is also where her ideas for the reforms that were to bring her fame blossomed – she preached a return to the simple apostolic principles in the monastic life. The famous saying that God can also be found among the cooking pots can be traced back to Teresa of Avila. Despite vehement opposition from some ecclesiastical institutions of the time, Teresa put her idea into practice and founded the order of barefoot Carmelite nuns, establishing the first of 18 convents in her name in Avila. The strict rules of the order were in keeping with the ideas of the ruler of Spain, Philip II, in whom she found an extremely powerful ally.
Teresa of Avila died in 1582 and was buried in Alba de Tormes, near Salamanca, which has now become a place of pilgrimage. Teresa was canonized on October 15, 1622.
It may therefore seem strange that given her call to live a simple apostolic life that we have just a sweet delicacy named after her – but sweet and delicate it is and oh so very moreish!!!!
Yemas De Santa Teresa
1 cup/200g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Rind of 1 unwaxed lemon, peeled in a spiral
10 egg yolks
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Boil the sugar with 6-8 tbsp of water to make a clear, heavy syrup. Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon and lemon rind for a while, while continuing to stir. The remove the cinnamon and lemon rind from the syrup.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl until they are foaming. Slowly add the syrup, stirring constantly. Stand the bowl in a bain-marie (or over a saucepan of near boiling water) and beat until think and creamy. Remove from the bain-marie and leave until cold.
Make a long roll with the mixture, cut into small pieces and roll them quickly into small walnut-sized balls. Coat with confectioner’s sugar and then place in the paper cases.