Well I'm back... quite rested, but not entirely ready to resume regular posting, but at the same time itching to tell you what I've been doing over this last month... but simply have to start with what I did today... you see the Elderflower are in bloom here and I didn't want to miss out... and since they are so easy to cook with (and free usually!) I thought I would share with you a recipe so you don't miss out either.


PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: Forme of Cury | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Elderflower cheesecake


179. Sambocade. Take and make a crust in a trap & take cruddes and wryng out þe wheyze and drawe hem þurgh a straynour and put hit in þe crust. Do þerto sugar the þridde part, & somdel whyte of ayren, & shake þerin blomes of elren; & bake it vp with eurose, & messe it forth.

- Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Elderflower Cheesecake. Take and make a crust in a pie pan & take curds and wring out the whey and pass it through a strainer and put it in the pie shell. Add sugar (a "þridde part" - about 1/3 cup), and a portion of egg whites, and add dried elderflowers; and bake it with rosewater, and serve it.

The above is from A Boke of Gode Cookery site which I have just discovered... and found that I love it! My recipe is a little bit different but you can see that it comes from the same roots.

Ingredients: 8oz rich sweet shortcrust pastry (pate brise... recipe at the bottom); 4 eggs separated; 4oz castor sugar; 12oz cream cheese (I used the cheapest that co op had but you can use cottage cheese instead which is even cheaper); 3oz fresh or stale breadcrumbs; 3-4 clusters of elderflowers or 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial.

Method: Line a 9inch deep baking or cake tin with the pastry and bake blind (I took my eye off it for a few minutes and over did it... but it didn't matter too much...) instructions on how to do this at the bottom.

In a bowl cream together the egg yolks and sugar until almost white and shiny, then gradually add the cream cheese and beat it well until totally incorporated. Stir in the breadcrumbs and then add the elderflowers. You need to wash the elderflower heads well first to get rid of any bugs and then shake them as dry as you can. Use a fork to 'ping' off the little blossoms and try not to get too many stalks into the mix - there were one or two stalks in mine, one or two is ok! If you are using cordial instead, simply stir it into the mixture.

In a separate bowl whip up the egg whites until they are stiff and and shiny. Fold these into the cheesy mixture and spoon into the cooked pastry case. Pop it in the oven at 180 C for about 45 minutes or until the top is brown. My fan oven cooks it in half this time so perhaps you need to know your oven well and keep an eye on it.

Yes it is a bit rustic looking but that's fine for a recipe that is 600 years old. Oh and we had it for lunch with creme fraiche and a glass of elderflower cordial (there are plenty of recipes for that online... do search... well worth making).

Pate Brise: 8oz plain flour; pinch of salt; 4oz butter; 2oz icing sugar; 1 egg yolk; a little ice cold water. Mix the flour and salt together and then rub the butter into the flour (or better still use a pastry cutter) until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and then make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and a little iced water. Use a palette knife and start to bring together the mixture until it forms a dough. Add a little more water if it is not coming together properly.. go carefully though.

Once you have a dough.. .pop it into a plastic bag or clingfilm and put it into the fridge for thirty minutes or so. After this you can roll it out to the shape you need and line your baking tin... then you need to put the baking tin back into the fridge for another half hour before being put into the oven (this helps to prevent shrinking when cooking... I didn't do this because I was pushed for time... ). Then bake it for 15 minutes or so at 190 to 200C until lightly brown. You can cover it with baking parchment and weigh it down with ceramic beans if you want... I don't always do this either. Even though the sides of the pastry collapsed in a couple of places and a few of the edges are a little browner than I intended... it still tasted great... all I need now is some summer sunshine to go with it!


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