The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Almond Cheese, very basic

Okay, just to show that it works:

Strictly almond cheese from a period recipe.

Creme Of Almaundes. XX.IIII. V. Take Almaundes blaunched, grynde hem and drawe hem up thykke, set hem ouer the fyre & boile hem. set hem adoun and spryng hem wicii Vyneger, cast hem abrode uppon a cloth and cast uppon hem sugur. whan it is colde gadre it togydre and leshe it in dysshes. (Form of Cury)

There are actually similar recipes as almond creme, almond butter, and almond cheese. However, when you start getting past things that call themselves "creme" you start seeing other ways in which this very basic receipt is modified to include and expand its use.

This was produced from commercially made almond milk, but the ingredient list is pretty simple--almonds, water, sugar. And it was very simple to make:

About 1 qt sweetened almond milk
About 2-2.5 teaspoons of white wine vinegar.

Heat the almond milk to a simmer. Add vinegar. Watch it curdle. Strain curds from leftover liquid and hang in a bag to drain. Once the curds are dry, add sugar or any other spices you might like, and press into a mold.

The primary problem with this? The yield from this is very small. That little disc up there is in a finger bowl, and the cheesefood is about the size of a ping pong ball. Even without any additional spices or additives, it's a smooth, creamy tasting thing, but it feels like putty when you touch it and the quantity of almond milk needed to produce enough to make, say, a cheesecake, is going to be pretty significant. Still, I'm happy to have done it and to find it was so simple. I can again have a little bit of sweet creaminess with my breakfast.

I do have two other solutions in mind in the quest for a creamy umami sauce that will stand in for aged dairy cheese--one is a cheeze that uses the nutmeats leftover from making almond milk, and the other is in my tummy now but is still a little too salty and fatty for me to call it solved. But I have to say, that was bestest, most creamiest non-egg, non-dairy sauce I have had. I can't even call it uncheeze, as it's not vegan. But it's all period ingredients, so I'll keep working on it. :-) And if I get it right, I may not share it unless you come to my house and eat it with me. ;-)

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