Roman recipe for a ricotta pie with elder flowers.
Elderberry Pie. Mix with elder flowers all the things which we have noted for white pie. The latter mixture ought to be, however, thicker than the former, because the flowers are distributed throughout. Although this dish is of little nourishment and is digested slowly, nevertheless it makes those eating it frequently happier. Let Caelius eat this, who surpasses Saturn in melancholy. (Milham, 367)
White Pie. Pound well a pound and a half of the best fresh cheese, cut up especially fine. When it is pounded, mix in twelve to fifteen egg whites, a half pound of sugar, a half ounce of white ginger, a half pound of pork fat, the same of fresh butter, and as much milk as will be enough. When you have spread a thin pastry crust in an earthenware pot, put in all these things. When it has been placed on the hearth, cook on a slow fire. Put coals on the top of the lid so that it will become more colored. When it is cooked and taken from this pot, sprinkle ground sugar with rose water on it. This is very nourishing, is digested slowly, warms the liver, but it causes blockages, generates stone, and is bad for eyes and nerves. (Milham, 363)
I chose to use the redaction from a period recipe which I had used before. I found it to be a lovely dish and didn’t feel the need to try to improve upon her recipe.
An elderflower & ricotta cheese pie – contributed by Gaylin J. Walli
Modern recipe: Elder Flower White Pie
- 1 deep-dish pie crust, pre-baked
- 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
- 8 egg whites, very lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 ounce fresh ginger root, peeled and minced fine
- 1/4 pound lard
- 1/4 pound butter
- 1/2 cup milk (or less)
- 1 tablespoon elder flowers dried
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- rosewater, for sprinkling: OPTIONAL
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Soften the butter and the lard together, preferably at room temperature (do not melt).
- Place the cheese in a mixing bowl and add the softened butter and lard, mixing well. Add the ginger and mix well. Add the egg whites, mixing as little as possible and only until thoroughly combined.
- Add the sugar and mix well. Add the milk, checking to see that the consistency does not get soupy. Use less milk to maintain a batter-like appearance. Add the flowers last and mix until just combined.
- Add the mixture to a pre-baked pie shell and bake for 40 minutes. When the oil from the pie separates on the top, remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with the extra sugar and optionally with a few drops of rosewater. Place the pie briefly under the broiler and brown the sugar on the top lightly (or use a kitchen torch to brown the top and caramelize the sugar slightly). Cool the pies to room temperature before cutting. The pie will set as it cools.
– Platina’s on Right Pleasure and Good Health: A Critical Abridgement and Translation of De Honesta
Voluptate Et Valetudine | Product Review – by Platina and Mary E. Milham published by Cornell
University Press Services 1999