Honey/Almond Cheesecake

There are cheesecake-type recipes in Digby and Platina, but this one is much more peri-oid than period.

Recipe from Handout

1 cup sugar
1/4 lb. butter
1 lb. cream cheese
1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/4 cup honey
5 eggs, separated, whites beaten stiff not dry
1/2 cup half and half
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup almonds, ground (a coffee grinder works wonders for this)

Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add cream cheese until mixture is fluffy. Blend in flour and honey. Blend in the egg yolks. Beat well. Add cream and extract. Lightly fold in egg whites. Fold in ground almonds with a few strokes. Pour into well-buttered 9" springform, set on a low rack in preheated 325 oven. Bake 1 hour. Turn off heat & allow to cool in oven with door closed for one hour. Remove from pan and chill.

Source for Recipe Presented

How to Cook Forsoothly. Mistress Katrine de Baillie du Chat, O.L.; 1979. Raymond's Quiet Press (I don't think it is available any longer.)

Notes and additional versions

The above recipe is really more of a modern cheesecake recipe with flavorings that were available in period, though even finding some other period dessert recipe that puts them together isn't as easy as you would think. For one thing, there are plenty of sweet almond custards or desserts, but they are sweetened with sugar not honey.

Sugar versus Honey: Ingredient Use in 13th to 15th Century England by Terry Nutter

Period cheesecake recipes result in dishes with a different flavor and texture than the "New York" style cheesecake which is what the above recipe more resembles, and can be found throughout the period, all the way back in ancient Rome and in many versions in the very late period cookbooks. The above recipe is extremely delicious and pleasing to the modern palate, but the state of research in SCA cookery has advanced quite a bit since 1979.

Remaining notes still in incomplete form...

Florilegium Thread on Cheesecakes, including several redactions

Savillum(Poppy seeds glazed ricotta cheesecake) from de Agricultura by Cato the Censor
Savillum hoc modo facito: Farinae selibram, casei P. II S una cmmisceto quasi libum, addito mellis P. et ovum unum. Catinum fictile oleo unguito. Ubi omnia bene comiscueris, in catinum indito, catinum testo operito. Videto ut bene percocas medio, ubi altissimum est. Ubi, coctum erit, catinum eximito, melle unguito, papaver infriato, sub testum subde paulisper, postea eximito. Ita pone cum catillo et lingua.
Make a savillum thus: Mix 1/2 libra of flour and 2 1/2 librae of cheese, as is done for libum. Add 1/4 libra of honey and 1 egg. Grease an earthenware bowl with oil. When you have mixed the ingredients well, pour into the bowl and cover the bowl with an earthenware testo. See that you cook it well in the middle where it is highest. When it is cooked, remove the bowl, spread with honey, sprinkle with poppy, put it back underneath the testo for a moment, and then remove. Serve it thus with a plate and spoon. (Cato 84)

Another redaction of Savillum

This is from Harleian MS. 279, circa 1420. It is a *curd* cheesecake, typical of the period, and contains bone marrow for added richness. There is a variation using strawberries which has been redacted in Pleyn Delit. Cheesecakes which use cream cheese are *not* period. [th] has been substituted for "thorn". xl. Daryoles. Take croddys of [th]e deye, & wryng owt [th]e whey; & take yolkys of Eyroun nowt to fewe, ne nogt to many, and strayne hem bo[th]e to-gederys [th]orw a straynour, & [th]an hard [th]in cofynne, & ley [th]in marew [th]er-in; & pore [th]in comade [th]er-on, an bake hem, & serue hem forth. >From Forme of Cury, Sambocade. Dry cheese curds, sugar, egg whites, and dried elderflowers, baked in a crust.

Forme of Cury 179 Sambocade: Take and make a crust in a trap & take a crudd and wryng out Şe wheze and drawe hem Şurgh a straynour and put it in Şe crust. Do Şerto suger the Şridde part & somdel whyte of ayren & shake Şerin blom of elren & bake it up with eurose & messe it forth. Take and make a crust in a trap & take curds and wring out the whey and draw it through a strainer and put it in the crust. Add thereto sugar the third part & some egg whites. Shake therein blooms of elderflowers & bake it up with rosewater & serve it forth. Redactions: Lady Beatrix zum Dunklenturm - a cross between the one from Forme of Cury and The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, Opened.
James L. Matterer - Authentic
James L. Matterer - Variation

>From Cato: Savillum. Cheese, flour, an egg, honey, poppy seeds, baked in a pan without crust.

>From Platina: White Torte. Fresh cheese, egg whites, ginger, milk, butter, lard, sugar and rosewater, baked in a crust.

White Torta Platina p. 135 (book 8) Prepare a pound and a half of best fresh cheese, chopped especially fine. Add twelve or fifteen egg whites, half a pound of sugar, half an ounce of white ginger, half a pound of pork liquamen and as much fresh butter. Blend in as much milk as you need. When you have blended this, put it into a pastry crust rolled thin and put it all in a pan and set it to bake on the hearth with a gentle flame. Then, to give it color, put coals on the lid. When it is cooked and taken from the pan, sprinkle ground sugar over it, with rosewater.

Cariadoc's redaction of White Torta

>From de Nola: Flaones. Fresh cheese, ricotta, eggs, rosewater, mint, and honey, baked in a crust.

15th-century Catalan Libre del Coch:

136 De flaons

Take fresh cheese and curds that are well [drained?] and pound them well in a mortar together with as much eggs. And [fold?] a bit of fat cheese which is grated and minced together with the curds with a bit of [pols] of dried mint. And then put in the mortar a little rosewater, not too much but rather in [appropriate] measure. And then make dough from good farina and knead it with very fine oil, kneading it well so that it becomes very firm. And then make of the dough [coffins?] to place the cheeses. But before filling, heat the dough a little, so that it becomes firm. And then fill it with the filling. And before they are all done, take some forks or [pincers?] and [crimp?] the edge. And then take it to the fire to cook. And when it's cooked, and [the top is browned?] a bit, then [from edge to edge?] put on honey or a syrup of sugar and rosewater.

From Guisados1
136. Custard Which Is a fritter FLAONES QUE ES FRUTA DE SARTEN Take new cheese, and curds which should be very dry, and grind them well in a mortar with as much again of eggs; and you can also put a little of fat buttery cheese which should be grated and ground with the new cheese, and the curds, all together with a little dried and powdered mint; and then cast a little rosewater into the mortar, and it should not be much, but medium, and then make dough of very good flour, and knead it with sweet oil, which is very fine, and in such a manner that it is very well-kneaded, and that it remains and becomes very hard; and then make from the said dough some empanadillas to put the cheese into; but before you put them in and you fill them, warm the dough a little, however it should be firm; and after filling them with the said pottage, and before the empanadillas or custards are all filled, take some little tongs and shirr the edges. And then they go to the fire to cook. And when they are cooked, that they have lost the color on top and have a little color; then as they are hot, cast on them melted honey or sugar syrup, but not made with rosewater; and when they have absorbed the honey or the syrup, cast sugar and cinnamon on top of them.

Tardpoleyn or Tardpolane: custardy/cheesy cheesecake with almond-milk pastry possible fillings of figs, dates, apples, pears, and almonds mixed into a cheese-egg-liquid filling.

Constance Hieatt and Robin Jones' "Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections Edited from British Library Manuscripts Additional 32085 and Royal 12.C.xii", Speculum, v.61 October 1986, pp 859-882 : "11. TARDPOLENE [custard tarts with fruit]. Here is another dish, which is called tardpolene. Take and combine flour and sugar, and mix into pastry with almond milk; make cases of this pastry two fingers in height; then take pears, dates, almonds, figs, and raisins, and put in liquid and spices and grind together; add egg yolk and a piece of good, soft cheese, not too old, and plenty of whole eggs; then put them [the pastry cases filled with the above mixture] to cook; brush the tops with egg yolk, then serve."

To Make Cheesecakes Digby p. 214/174 Take 12 quarts of milk warm from the cow, turn it with a good spoonfull of runnet. Break it well, and put it in a large strainer, in which rowl it up and down, that all the whey may run out into a little tub; when all that will is run out, wring out more. Then break the curds well; then wring it again, and more whey will come. Thus break and wring till no more come. Then work the curds exceedingly with your hand in a tray, till they become a short uniform paste. Then put to it the yolks of 8 new laid eggs, and two whites, and a pound of butter. Work all this long together. In the long working (at the several times) consisteth the making them good. Then season them to your taste with sugar finely beaten; and put in some cloves and mace in subtle powder. Then lay them thick in coffins of fine paste and bake them.

Cariadoc's redaction of Digby's To Make Cheesecakes

To make Cheese-cakes (A True Gentlewomans Delight, 1653): Cheesecake made of cream, eggs & currants

To make Cheese-Cakes, the best way (The Accomplish'd Lady's Delight In Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery, 1675): Freshly made cheese baked into a cheesecake Epulario To make Tartes in flesh time, and first to make a white Tarte. Take two pounds of good new Cheese and cut it smal, and them stampe it, then take fifteen or sixteen whites of egges, and temper and mixe them with the Cheese, putting thereto a pound of Sugar, halfe a pound of faire white Ginger, halfe a pound of sweet Butter, and some milke as much as wil suffice, then make your paste and let it be somewhat thin, and let it bake with a soft fire both under and ouer it, and let him bee somewhat browne, and when hee is baked straw Sugar and Rosewater upon it. Redaction

Migliaccio is a classic Neapolitan specialty. Its flavor is reminiscent of pastiera di grano [another Neapolitan sweet, made with ricotta and grain]

The Origins and Antecedents of Italian Renaissance Cuisine by Minowara Kiritsubo

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