Libum Back to Real Roman Recipes Libum was a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits during Rome's early history. unfortunately, no ancient recipe from Hellas has survived; perhaps because these cakes were known to all and passed down from mother to … It tends to be quite coarsely ground. Andrew Dalby, in his fascinating book, Empire of Pleasures, tells us that Sicilian honey was some of the best in the ancient Roman world. Lay out paper cupcake cases on a tray. In circa 350 BC, the ancient Greek poet Archestratos registered plakous as a dessert (or second table delicacy) served with nuts and dried fruits; the honey-drenched Athenian version of plakous was commended by the poet. I am currently working on several posts about the role of food in Roman religion, so will deal with sacrificial cakes in more depth there. Texts from the second and first centuries B.C. Birthday cakes are also ancient, as the first century poet, Ovid, wrote about in his elegiac letters, titled Tristia, which bemoan his exile to Pontus (now part of modern-day Turkey): Thou awaitest, I suppose, thine honour in its wonted guise: a white robe hanging from my shoulders, a smoking altar garlanded with chaplets, the grains of incense snapping in the holy fire, and myself offering the cakes that mark my birthday and framing kindly petitions with pious lips. Bees played an essential role in Greek and Roman religious traditions. IV. Lavender flavors baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), as well as used to make "lavender sugar". In fact, cake has been a popular addition to life throughout all of the Ancient World. MAKE IT SHINE! You can sift the flour if you wish but it is not necessary … claim the Samnites, an ancient civilization of present-day Campania that battled with the Roman Republic, invented a delicacy comprised of seed oils, egg whites, and honey. Whisk in oil, 1 cup of honey, and the wine until well combined. Like many recipes of the time there were no proportions listed, but modern recreations of these cakes show us that the consistency is that of a sponge cake. That meant I needed to, quite literally, get cooking. Libum. It might also be offered as a sacrifice, though a lighter (and more cake-like) honey cake was more often used for this purpose. When I first embarked upon writing my novel, FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, I knew I would require a vast amount of research to understand everything I could about the food of that era. Apicius 7.11.5  aliter dulciaPound pepper, pine nuts, honey, rue, and passum. It was originally made of emmer, a cereal grain related to wheat, and it is only during the Empire that wheat was used to make bread. Ancient Romans enjoyed sweet and salty concoctions. In a measuring jug mix the wine with the grape juice and honey. Fresh plums, apricots, apples, figs or grapes would all be perfect ancient Roman accompaniments to this cake. If more sweetness is desired, drizzle a little more honey on each slice before eating. Leavened bread and cakes were made from natural yeasts like a sourdough starter. If any of the ancient myths are to be believed, the gods of ancient Greek and Roman antiquity loved a bountiful meal. show what archaeologists think might be a type of folded honey cake, likely made from flour, eggs, honey, dates and nuts. This is one of the very first recipes that I made when I first started diving into the cookbook Apicius as part of my research for FEAST OF SORROW. These two ingredients are thought of as essential in modern cake making, but The Romans still had a diverse array of desserts that they would enjoy throughout the year. Although bees were kept in large numbers in Rome, such was the demand that honey and wax were imported from other parts of the Empire such as Spain and Corsica. 14.8 ml (3 tsp) pepper. This cake is best eaten the same day but will keep, if covered, at room temperature for up to two days. Appeasing the Gods, or Let Them Eat Honey Cake (Ancient Roman Cuisine) 250 gr (2 cups) flour. A simple recipe that results in a delicious, dense cake that isn't excessively sweet. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Add to the mixture pine nuts, nuts and boiled alica (polished spelt grains). It began as sacrifice—giving a gift to the gods to incur divine favor, give thanks, or avoid retribution. Soda - Sodium bicarbonate was used by the ancient Egyptians for nearly three thousand years before the recipes in Apicius were written down, but used primarily for treating wounds, preserving meat and as a cleaning agent. Baklava’s oldest ancestor is believed to be the Ancient Roman placentacake, a dessert made of alternating thin pastry sheets and layers of cheese and honey. Placenta is a 'dessert' made from layered cheese, honey, and pastry, but really it is much more than the sum of its parts. For this dish, cheese was combined with flour, honey and egg into a batter … While he himself likely enjoyed some form of cake as part of his celebration, it was the idea of giving an offering to the gods that is important in this letter. Paintings in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses II, who ruled from 1304 to 1237 B.C.E. One of the first printed recipes for honey cake appears in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistae, published in Greece in 180 B.C.E.. Leave to cool and then it is time to enjoy. In fact, for centuries beyond ancient times, the wedding celebrations of Cupid and Psyche and Peleus and Thetis have been common artistic subjects for vases, frescoes and paintings of the great masters. The mixture will thicken. Honey- Honey was a regular staple of the ancient Roman diet. Lagane, a rustic short pasta usually served with chickpeas, was also used to make a honey cake with fresh ricotta cheese. (Roman Honey Cakes) By Eliot, on January 9th, 2018. Don’t beat too hard as you want to keep all the air that you have worked in. Honey cake is still a traditional food for many cultures today, particularly in Jewish culture, where honey cake (called Lekach) on Rosh Hashanah is as ubiquitous as fruitcake on Christmas. Cheesecake, Ancient Roman-style: Libum or Honey Cakes Libum, or ancient Roman Cheesecakes with Honey & Bay Leaf, a great cooking/food experience for Sunday School, Home school, or just for fun for kids and adults alike. Crystal King’s debut novel, Feast of Sorrow, is epic in the true sense of the word. Thrasius, born a slave in ancient Rome, has the luck of being bought as a teenager by the rich Marcus Gavius … We can trace these cakes as far back as Cato the Elder – he wrote down the recipe for safekeeping. The cake was flavored with bay leaves, baked, and drenched in honey, much like modern-day baklava, and could be found in Ancient Rome as early as the 2nd century B.C.E. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Grease and flour a 9” cake pan. They were shaped to resemble animal or objects when the occasion called for it. Roman Honey Cakes Ingredients: 3 large eggs; 200g (7ounces) of clear runny “pouring” honey; 50g (2 ounces) of spelt flour (preferred) or ordinary plain white flour; Note: Spelt flour is made from an ancient strain of wheat introduced to the UK by the Romans. V. Sift the flour and gently fold into the honey and egg mixture. Recipe From Postcards From Buster. Pine Nuts – If you aren’t fond of pine nuts because of their aftertaste, look for Turkish or Italian pinenuts in specialty or gourmet stores (more expensive but worth it). This article first appeared in the inaugural issue of the beautiful food history publication, EATEN Magazine. Later, the ancient Greeks used flour mixed with eggs, milk, nuts, and honey and made what they called Plakous, the name coming from the word Plakoeis which meant “flat” cake. 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt. The darker breads were not preferable by the rich, and Pliny writes in his Naturalis Historia 18.11: "The wheat of Cyprus is swarthy and produces a dark bread, for which reason it is generally mixed with the white wheat of Alexandria." Most of the very ancient Roman recipes that have been left to us tend to be a short list of ingredients and in some cases, a rudimentary and usually incomplete set of instructions. 1 egg yolk (no … Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them hard and well until getting stiff, creating lots of air … Gradually mix the honey into the beaten eggs. Mix the flour and baking powder together. The closest things that we have to a Roman cookbook is a collection of recipes from the 1st century known as Apicius. One article even offered it up in a list of “Prize Christian Cakes” (The Evening Post, December 21, 1818). Honey from different locales tasted differently, of course, depending on what the flora was in that area. 14.8 ml (2 ½) tsp baking powder. Chinese pinenuts can impart a waxy, metallic taste. The feasts on Mount Olympus were similar to those enjoyed on earth save in abundance, superior taste, luxury and perhaps the addition of the divine ambrosia. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Today, of course, for ease of use, we use baking powder and soda as leaveners. Though not nearly as popular as the fruit dishes, the ancient Roman kitchen also included a number of soufflés and puddings. Lesley and Roy Adkins, in The Dictionary of Roman Religion, tell us “a food offering might be shared between the gods and the people in a sacrificial feast, or the food might be given entirely to the gods by burning it all.” Animal blood sacrifices were common, but also gifts such as oil, wine, incense, honey and...cakes. 4th century BC), a contemporary of Archestratos, provided an ornate description of plakous and mentioned wheat flour and goat's cheese as its key ingredients. Add enough milk to the jug to make the liquid up to 200mls / 8flozs. However, I discovered that I needed to make some exceptions to the original recipes. 2 eggs. Placenta, from Greek plakous (cake), is a sweet frequently mentioned in the ancient Roman sources. You can either carefully spoon the mixture into each cake case or put the mixture into a jug and pour some into each case. It is called Enkhytoi and the book describes it as a flat, molded cake made from honey, fine flour and eggs. Want to try a taste of ancient Rome? In another large bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk well. Spelt flour is more similar to the type of flour that the Romans would have used so if you want your cake to be as authentic as possible then use this, if you don’t have any spelt flour then plain flour will work fine. Add chopped roasted hazelnuts. 14.8 ml (3 tsp) coriander. Heat 5 tbsp of honey, mix with roasted hazelnuts and drizzle it over the cake. One such apiary is still viewable in Malta, a little island off the coast of Sicily. Some of the cake recipes involve a long list of ingredients including things such as pepper, wine, yeast and various spices. Mix well. They, and the honey they produce, have many symbolic meanings. We might be tempted to interpret these to mean modern day cakes, but the ancient Hellenes would have most likely used flat cracker-type 'cakes', made from barley meal and honey. The photos of the cake were taken by Valerio Necchio. VII. It was served at the convivia, as we read in Petronius’ Satyricon, but bakers sold frequently slices, not only the whole cake, as remembered by Martial. She creates a narrator who must live by his wits and skill (in and out of the kitchen) to survive to old age in what was a cruel and unforgiving time. But I also wanted to stay true to the era. II. Appeasing the Gods, or Let Them Eat Honey Cake (Ancient Roman Cuisine), Sauce for mushrooms - An ancient Roman Recipe from Apicius, 29.5 ml (2 tbsp) chopped toasted hazelnuts. Ovid uses an interesting turn of phrase within this passage--the offering of cakes to mark his birthday. The ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius , (named for the wealthy first century gourmand), has several sweet (dulcia) cake recipes that are possibly centuries older than the third or fourth century compilation. https://www.dessertjoy.com/ancient-roman-dessert-recipes.html Pliny and Columella both describe raisin wines in their writings. Historian Sally Grainger translates two of them thus: Pound pepper, pine nuts, honey, wine, passum, and rue. 2 tbsp honey ; Milk ; Chopped hazelnuts ; Instructions:-----Mix the flour in a bowl with the baking powder. Therefore, home bakers should not feel guilty thinking that white flour might not be authentic in this recipe. Should be done by 55 minutes. Libum, sometimes served hot, is a cheesecake he included. The Egyptian specialty feteer meshaltet, which is a thin folded pastry (and might even be the precursor to the French croissant), is descended from these cakes. Let cool completely before serving. Cake is a dish that has been around for thousands of years, and was enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians well before the Greeks and Romans had their fill. For ease of removal, you can also add parchment paper to the bottom of the pan, but make sure to grease and flour the sides. Store your pinenuts in the fridge for up to three months, or the freezer up to nine, to prevent them from going rancid. The 19th century saw “old fashioned honey cake” as a common compliment to tea time in both England and the United States. The ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius, is full of these sorts of recipes. The same author complains with a friend who, announcing thirty times his imminent death, has almost ruined him, forcing Martial to buy expensive placentae … A home cook of today would have no idea where to begin when it came to extrapolating these vague lists into something edible. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 177 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Farenheit. What were their origins? When it comes to ancient cakes, the only sweetener they had was honey. Add the rosemary, almonds and cinnamon to the bowl. They were, and still are, a very popular Roman sweet pastry. A great alternative to more commonplace desserts! Spain, then called Hibernia, was also a major source of honey. During the Roman period, the name for cake, also derived from an ancient Greek word, became “placenta.” At the time of the destruction of Pompeii in AD 79, there were at least 33 bakeries in that city. Why did the ancients offer up cakes to their deities? I began my cooking research by trying dishes found in cookbooks by historians such as Andrew Dalby, Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa, Sally Grainger, Mark Grant and Francine Segan. https://tavolamediterranea.com/2017/08/16/libum-catos-cake-bread Keeping bees was a respected art and apiaries were elaborate and large in many places. Namoura (Egyptian Honey Cake) Recipe by Chef #1325070. I was relieved to discover that others had already done much of this interpretation for me. Romans did not have refined sugar or butter. One of the foods mentioned several times in my novel are honey cakes, which are offered up to the gods in thanks. How to make Roman bread: a Roman bread recipe Bread was a staple food in Ancient Rome consumed by all social classes. I wanted to understand the difficulty of preparation, the nuances of flavor and how foods might pair together. L ibum was a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits during Rome's early history. Beekeeping activity in Ancient Greece and Rome In Ancient Greece and Rome beekeeping was an important activity. The ancient Romans had two kinds of cheesecake, a savoury version (libum) and a sweet version (savillum). As the Romans did not have sugar they used honey to sweeten their cakes. For example, the bitter herb rue is not easy to come by in all regions, so it is substituted with another ancient and sweeter spice, coriander. I. Preheat your oven to 170°C (150°C fan)/330°F/Gas Mark 3. VI. The stories left to us by Ovid, Herodotus, Virgil, Homer and others are ripe with stories of grand feasts enjoyed by the gods, or the gods meddling in mortal banquets such as the feast of King Midas in which all of the food tragically turned to gold. Unmold the cake. When interpreting the Apicius sweet cake recipes for a modern audience, I found that the combination of these two cakes make for a dessert more palatable and familiar to us today. New Audio Adventure … The lower classes ate bread with little bit of salt while wealthy Romans also ate it with eggs, cheese, honey, milk and fruit. It was offered to the gods themselves as a form of bloodless sacrifice. Mix in the pine nuts and almonds. In nearly every religion food plays an important role when it comes to worship. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Interestingly, some historians believe that placentais actually derived from the Greek plakous, a word that meant “thin, layered flatbreads,” and so… Horace tells us in his Epistles that the bees loved thyme and in his Odes, he praises the honey around the area of Tarentum, in Apulia in Southern Italy. A traditional ancient Roman banquet would have begun with eggs and ended with fruit, and the final course was often accompanied by sweet desserts such as cake. The recipe below comes from the Roman consul Cato's agricultural writings, which included simple recipes for farmers. Later in 160 BC, Cato the Elder provided a recipe for placenta in his De Agri Cultura that One such is known as savillum, occasionally likened to cheesecake. The Greek comic poet Antiphanes (fl. They also feature in many stories of the Greek and Roman gods. Whisk in dry ingredients until smooth. Wine - For this recipe, a sweet white raisin-based wine is preferred, for example, the Greek Kourtaki Samos Muscat, or an Italian passito wine, but any very sweet white wine will work. With the exception of the baking powder, all of the ingredients in this recipe would have been available in some form to the ancient Romans. Use an electric mixer or blender if you have one. Serve drenched in honey and sprinkled with pepper. This recipe collection has a number of references to cake, however, whilst the ingredients are provided, the quantities and the directions are not, meaning that we use educated guessed and experimentation to work out what the Romans would actually have done. But it wasn’t long before my husband and I were testing out our own interpretations of foods such as roasted mushrooms, sweet and sour dill chicken and dessert treats like fritters. If you try this recipe and want to try your hand at other ancient Roman recipes, check out my free digital cookbook, the companion to my novel, FEAST OF SORROW. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them hard and well until getting stiff, creating lots of air bubbles. Pour batter into pan and bake until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Honey cake is still a traditional food for many cultures today, particularly in Jewish culture, where honey cake (called Lekach) on Rosh Hashanah is as ubiquitous as fruitcake on Christmas. ADD YOUR PHOTO. Method. The cake will be a dark brown from the honey. Flour - Spelt and semolina were the most common grains used for flour in ancient Rome, although flour from rye and oats were also found. The honey cake lived on in multiple forms and countries. If you love food and love reading about the fascinating history of food, definitely snag a subscription...you won't be sorry! The Roman chefs made sweet buns flavored with blackcurrants and cheese cakes made with flour, honey, eggs, ricotta-like cheese and poppy seed. 2.5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda. Additionally, modern cooks have leavening agents at their disposal and it is far easier to use them than making some form of sourdough starter. One story tells of the birth of Zeus, King of the … Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake cases. Cook the thickened mixture with a little egg. Recipe from Cato the Elder, 160 B.C. Let rest for 20 minutes. The ancient Romans did have white wheat flour, which was only available to the very wealthy. Soldiers and plebians would have eaten bread made from barley or perhaps acorn flour. III. A … [3] I was intrigued by the idea of these cakes and how I could recreate them today. Sweet wine cakes were … Savillum was eaten as part of secunda mesa (dessert) and was one of the Romans’ favourite sweets. The recipe we have here is a simple adaptation from one of these recipes. Crystal King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. When done a toothpick in the middle should come out clean. (Before the Common Era). The apiary was huge (it would have accommodated over 100 hives in its time) and enabled the beekeeper to go behind the hives and easily remove the honeycomb from slats in the wall. Make these delicious honey cakes! Cook with milk and tracta (this was a thin pastry that the ancient Romans sometimes crumbled into dishes for starch). Sorts of recipes from the Roman consul Cato 's agricultural writings, which was only to. The era at room temperature for up to two days add enough milk the... 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