We have a very special episode today! Deanna Berkemeier, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, walks us through the process of making cheese from scratch. Deanna is a master at the art of Cheesemaking. We hope you enjoy this! If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary! You won’t regret it!
Today’s recipe is a little different: Cheese-curd fritters from Eliza Smith’s 1758 cookbook, “The Compleat Housewife.” We found it a bit challenging to make cheese curds in camp, but we managed to pull it off. If you don’t want to go to those lengths, you can often find cheese curds at your grocer. Either way, deep fried and topped with sugar, you can’t really go wrong! Enjoy!
To purchase any of the items featured in today’s video, click here.
Today’s recipe is from Richard Briggs’ 1788 cookbook, “The English Art of Cookery” It’s for a delicious and easy cheese spread. Jon shows first how to make it, then he demonstrates three ways to serve it, including an authentic recipe for Welsh rabbit, a very popular Tavern food of the day!
In this episode we make a lemon cheesecake out of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Make sure to check out our website at http://Jas-townsend.com and the cooking blog that goes along with this series http://ift.tt/1iMiONd
In preparation for our upcoming wedding, my fiancée, Kelly, and I visited a wonderful cheese shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan this weekend, hoping to explore different cheese options for our reception. The tiny shop was packed with wide-eyed shoppers, and the busy shopkeepers raced back and forth between the cooler and counter with armfuls of carefully double-wrapped cheeses. Samples were generously supplied.
As we savored a delightfully salty aged Gouda from the Netherlands, a creamy Irish white cheddar made with morning milk, and one of my favorites — a smooth and buttery Manchego from Spain, I overheard one patron after another succumb to the will of the expert cheesemongers. “Oooo, I’ll take a pound of that too, please.”
This little store was stocked with everything one could possibly need for the finest cours de fromage. To customers’ backs was an entire wall of chutneys, crackers, preserves, and dried fruits. It was on this wall that I made a wonderful discovery: preserved young walnuts produced by Harvest Song.
I called Kelly over. I was eager to explain how I have for some time now wanted to preserve my own young walnuts according to the old recipes from Hannah Glasse and John Farley. Before she could make her way against the lines of people, two samples awaited our approval at the counter.
Walnuts, in the 18th century, were often pickled with vinegar, preserved in sugar syrup, or processed into walnut catsup. Generally, young walnuts were used before their shells had the chance to harden. Recipes instruct that the nuts are to be harvested while a pin can still be pushed through them. Most of, if not all of the walnut was preserved — meat, shell, and husk alike, depending on whether they were to be preserved white, black, or green.
These recipes have always captured my curiosity, but in the busyness of modern life, it seems I have routinely either missed the harvest window, or have lacked the week and a half to dedicate to the process. So I was thrilled to find these preserved walnuts on the shelf and was willing to pay the $10.00 price for an 18.9-ounce jar. No preservatives — only young walnuts, cane sugar, and lemon juice. I suppose I could throw in a few whole cloves and let them sit in my refrigerator. That’s about all they’re missing.
Kelly and I squeezed in between the lines to get to our samples. The sweetness was the first thing we noticed…almost cloyingly sweet…but they were a bit earthy too. These walnuts remind me of the flavor of dates…sending my thoughts longingly back to that first bite of aged Gouda. This would be a perfect compliment.
But beyond the flavor, probably the more memorable experience was the texture. How can I describe it without diminishing the surprise? The snap of an excellent refrigerator pickle…the crunch of a freshly roasted jumbo cashew…the pop in my back when my chiropractor finally gives me relief…yeah, that visceral…my attempts seem absurd.
The shop manager noticed our surprise and was delighted in our willingness to try them. I explained my fondness for historical foods. Out of curiosity, I asked if he was familiar with a French cheese that was very popular in the 18th century. I couldn’t remember its name…it started with an “M.” The most peculiar thing about this cheese is how it gains its flavor through the secretions of cheese mites that infest the block.
“Mimolette!” he interrupted.
“Yes! That’s it! Do you happen to have any?”
“No, I’m sorry, sir. You see the FDA has banned Mimolette in the U.S. They won’t allow it through customs. It seems that customs officials don’t like how it comes all covered with bugs! What a shame!”
“Yes, isn’t it…what a shame.”
So to my disappointment (but not necessarily to Kelly’s), there will be no Mimolette at the wedding reception, but I’m thinking a bowl of sliced preserved walnuts will be in order.
While we don’t offer the walnuts here at Jas. Townsend & Son, you can find them in my new favorite cheese shop in Kalamazoo, or you can order them on line. I will shamelessly say that the bowl and knife in the picture above are sold on our website.
If you prefer to try your hand at making your own preserved walnuts, I wish you success in your endeavors. I would love to hear of the outcome. Here’s a recipe from John Farley’s 1800 edition of The London Art of Cookery.
Ok, I am obviously some kind of cheese pie freak, and I admit this is my third cheesecake type recipe in the last couple of months, but you will just have to bear with me.
In the past, we made a couple of 18th century dishes that were called cheesecakes, but they were very different from the familiar modern cheesecake. 18th century cookbooks seem to have a lot of recipes that are called cheesecake, a few even containing cheese, but most do not come very close to what we now call a cheesecake. This dish comes a bit closer than most, but with a interesting twist: Parmesan.
The recipe is from William Rabisha’s The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected (1682)
This recipe makes quite a large tart so we are going to cut the recipe in half.
Parmesan Cheese Tart
6 oz Parmesan cheese, grated fine
3 whole eggs plus 3 additional egg yolks.
4 oz of butter, melted
1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 of a nutmeg, grated (about 1/2 tsp)
3 oz fresh bread crumbs (the crumb of any white bread, crust removed, and pulsed in a food processor will work perfectly)
3 Tbs of sugar
somewhere around 2 to 3 cups of heavy cream
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the cream, and stir with a spoon until well incorporated. Add as much cream as necessary to make a thin batter. The amount of cream needed will vary depending on the type of bread you use. The goal is to have a batter that you can pour — like pancake batter. The cheese and the bread crumbs will make the batter lumpy.
For a savory pie cut back the sugar to 1 or 2 Tablespoons. If you want it a sweeter pie, add 3, even 4 tablespoons.
Pour the batter into pie pans lined with a short paste. This recipe filled one of our 9″ pie pans with enough left over to fill a tart made in our pewter bowl. You can place optional strips of puff paste across the top. Finish by sprinkling a little sugar on top just before you place the pie in the oven, or add some sugar after baking and brown it with a salamander or torch.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Larger pies will take longer than smaller ones. The puff paste will puff up and brown, indicating when the pie is done.
The finished tart has a texture similar to that of a modern American cheesecake but is not nearly as sweet. You can take detect in this cheesecake the subtle bite of the Parmesan Cheese, but it’s not overpowering — perfect for the addition of fruit.