Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cheesecake, like it was 1651

From the Jane Parker manuscript

To make cheesecakes ("my" crossed out) Lady Manchester way

Take 4 or 5 quarts of milke and make curds of it with a little runing then prese them about for hours but not hard- then grate- a peny loafe boyle halfe of it in a pint of creame till it be as thicke as a hasty puding then let it cool in a dish, grate an nutmuge as much sinamon then take a pounde of currance picke and wash them and dry them in a cloath breake the curde very well and small then temper it with the rest of your things adding a pint of Creame to the rest of the breade, ten yolkes of eggs and three quarters of a pounde of suger temper all very small and so put it into crust and bake them.

 making sense of it

1. Take 4 to 5 quarts of milk and curdle it with a little rennet.
(you may be able to use a junket tablet for this... drop by Fankhauser's Cheese Page for some neat tid-bits on basic cheese making) I am unsure about what they refer to when suggesting pressing when the cheese has not yet been broken, however it is not uncommon for directions to be written in a semi-jumbled order in older cook books, so will add this detail later where it makes more sense.

2. grate a penny loaf and boil half the crumbs in a pint (Imperial) of cream until it is thick and then let it cool.
-the bread may have to be worked out, I'll likely start with a pound loaf and work carefully from there
hasty pudding is rather thick, so thicken accordingly... though that is subjective

3. grate a nutmeg and add an equal amount of cinnamon
-having a nutmeg grater is a handy item!

4. Take a pound of currants, pick and wash them and dry them in a cloth
-It usually doesn't hurt to wash store bought currants, though the recipe seems to suggest picking fresh currants, it is more likely referring to picking through the dried currants, washing them and drying them on a cloth to remove the liquid from the washing process.

5. Break the curd up well and small
(presuming you already viewed the cheese page)

6. This is where I am figuring on the cheese being pressed lightly.
To lightly press the cheese, you could wrap it in a cheese cloth and press it between two boards (with a little weight on the top board if needed) overnight. Take note that lots of whey will likely drain off in the process.

7. Combine the fresh cheese with the boiled bread/cream mixture and the spices

8. Combine this with the remainder of the bread crumbs with a pint of cream, 10 egg yolks and 3/4 pound of sugar. Mix this up very well and put this into your pie crust and bake.

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