The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Food and Drink
In ancient Rome, traditional New Year’s rituals included giving snake-shaped cakes as gifts for good luck. At the Thesmophoria, the festival dedicated to Demeter and Persephone, among the offerings ritually placed within Earth were cakes shaped like female genitalia and snakes.
Cakes shaped in the form of snakes were among the ritual foods offered to the witch-goddess Angitia. The ritual survives in the annual Festival of San Domenico that now incorporates many of Angitia’s traditions. (See DIVINE WITCH: Angitia.) Although no recipes from Angitia and Demeter’s ancient priestesses survive, the following is a modern variation based on the cakes carried in San Domenico processionals.
Two cups of all-purpose flour
One-half cup sugar
Scant teaspoon baking soda
Grated peel of an orange
Ground cinnamon to taste
Honey (at least one-quarter cup but to taste)
An espresso-sized cup of hot black coffee
One jigger chocolate or orange liqueur
Sour black cherry jam
Red and green candied fruit
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4
2. Place the flour in a mixing bowl; add the sugar, baking soda, grated orange peel and cinnamon.
3. Warm the honey carefully until it is almost bubbling. (Be careful not to scorch it. Do not microwave; the best, safest way to warm honey is in a bain-marie or a bowl sitting in a pan of hot water.)
4. Remove the honey from heat. Immediately make a well in the middle of the blended flour and add the honey, hot cup of coffee and liqueur. Mix quickly.
5. Divide the dough in half.
6. Form one half into the shape of a long loaf.
7. Spread the jam down the center of this loaf, then fold or wrap the edges of the dough over the jam so that it is enclosed within.
8. Get creative: form a snake’s head and tail.
9. Curl the snake and place it on a greased baking sheet.
10. Make green eyes from the green candy and trim the red candy into the form of a forked tongue. Insert into the snake’s head. (Depending on the type of candy you are using, this may be done before or after baking.)
11. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
12. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow the snakes to cool completely.
13. If desired, once cool the cakes may be decorated with pastry paint or a dark chocolate glaze. (Melt dark chocolate in a bain-marie and brush onto the snake using a pastry brush.)
See ANIMALS: Snakes; DIVINE WITCH: Angitia; ERGOT: Corn Mother: Demeter.