Leaping Days

2016 is a leap year, which means an extra day has been added to February. The Gregorian calendar used in the western world is a solar calendar and marks the position of the earth in relation to the sun. In the Gregorian calendar, a year is 365 days. As it takes the earth a little bit more than 365 days to revolve around the sun, an extra day is added to the year every 4 years. So any year that is evenly divisible by 4 is a leap year. But even this adjustment isn’t accurate enough. So any century year (a year that ends in 00) that is evenly divisible by 100 and 400 is a leap year. If they are evenly divisible by 100 but not 400 then they are not leap years. To make things interesting, cultures that use a lunisolar calendar (which marks moon phases as well as solar ones) add a leap month to their year – but not every 4 years.

So why the name “leap year”? What is actually being leaped? In the Gregorian calendar a fixed date advances one day of the week year by year. So if April Fool’s day falls on Monday one year then it will fall on Tuesday the next year, Wednesday the next and so on. When a leap year happens, this progression changes after February 29 and all fixed dates advance or leap a day. So if April Fool’s day was going to fall on a Thursday the next year it will actually fall on a Friday if it’s a leap year. This happens all the way to the end of  the next February when the daily progressions turn to normal – until the next leap year 🙂

One of the most common folklores for February 29 is that women can ask men to marry them. While there are many stories as to how and why this tradition came about, there are no definitive answers. One legend suggests that women who were planning to propose were supposed to wear a red skirt, presumedly to warn their beloved of an imminent proposal. Men who said no to the proposal would have to pay a fine to the woman. The fines ranged from a kiss, buying her enough material to make a dress, buying her a pair of gloves or buying her 12 pairs of gloves. The gloves were probably to cover her naked ring finger.

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Thinking about lady fingers naturally drew me to food, as to me a lady finger is either okra, a small banana, a cylindrical filo pastry or a sponge finger biscuit. As I continued on my culinary musings I wanted to pay tribute to the current leap year by creating a Lady Finger recipe using sponge finger biscuits. Tiramisu came to mind. But as my partner hates coffee based desserts, I decided to make a green tea version using both green tea leaves and matcha (powdered green tea).

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So let’s all raise our ringed and un-ringed Lady Fingers to the 2016 leap year!

Green Tea Tiramisu

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Ingredients
4 teaspoons green tea leaves
2 cups almost boiling water
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
2 teaspoons plum wine
250g mascarpone
50ml whipping cream
2 teaspoons matcha
200g ladyfingers
Extra matcha for dusting

Method
Combine tea and water and brew for 3 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
Beat egg yolks, sugar and plum wine until light and creamy.
In a separate bowl beat mascarpone and cream until smooth and creamy. Do not overwork.
Slowly add the matcha and gently mix to combine. You can control the strength of the green tea flavour by adding less or more matcha so taste as you go.
Fold mascarpone mixture into egg yolk mixture until combined.
Pour brewed green tea into a shallow dish. Dip a lady finger biscuit into the tea, long enough to soften but not too long or they will go soggy.
Arrange half the soaked biscuits in a large serving dish or individual dishes. Cover with half the mascarpone mixture. Repeat layers.
Dust generously with extra matcha.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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8 comments

  1. vsomethingspeaks I love okra btw. In the US it is considered a bit of S southernrl-Redneck vegetable. Of course, like many foodstuffs, what really matters is how it is prepared and presented. I’m not a fan of boiled okra. And I’ve never considered them like ladyfingers before; so I must ponder.

    Do Australians favor okra?

    I love the presentation of this dessert. You publisted just in time for your readers to master this yummers to prepare for Saint Patrick’s Day. In America we love preparing color-appropriate food for our celebrations.

    As mavericks and members of the a melting pot we embrace life-concepts that reflect tradition and put a new spin on culture through our manner of observance.

    Translation of last thought: Your partner inspired you to produce Starbucks 2017 Spring feature. We need to contact Howard Schultz.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only people I know who like okra are from Middle Eastern/Mediterranean backgrounds. I’ve always associated it with gumbo. I’ve only had it once. A friend made a stew with it and it was delicious.

      This does look like a good dish for St Pat’s Day. You could replace the plum wine with Irish Whiskey to add a bit of Irish to it 🙂 I also made a cuppycake especially for St Pat’s Day – Irish whiskey cuppycake with Irish cream frosting. I’ll be posting that one closer to the day.

      A Starbucks green tea tiramisu frappe would be delicious! Let me know if they say yes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, I have never known why a leap is called a leap year and what is actually being leaped. I have found this piece very informative. I think perhaps you are right about the gloves covering a naked ring finger I wonder what might be the reason for 12 pairs of gloves?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 12 pairs one for each month sounds good. I have looked up okra and gumbo as I had no idea what they were and feel very informed thankyou. Love the photo of the hand.

    Liked by 1 person

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