Monday, May 17, 2010

Common Curd Cheese Cakes

Whew. This was a pretty tricky one. This recipe comes from "ENGLISH HOUSEWIFRY EXEMPLIFIED, In above FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY RECEIPTS, Giving DIRECTIONS in most PARTS of COOKERY; And how to prepare various SORTS of SOOPS, CAKES, MADE-DISHES, CREAMS, PASTES, JELLIES, PICKLES, MADE-WINES, &c." by Elizabeth Moxon [1764].

A BOOK necessary for Mistresses of Families, higher and lower Women Servants, and confined to Things USEFUL, SUBSTANTIAL and SPLENDID, and calculated for the Preservation of HEALTH, and upon the Measures of Frugality, being the Result of thirty Years Practice and Experience.

WITH an APPENDIX CONTAINING, Upwards of Sixty RECEIPTS, of the most valuable Kind, communicated to the Publisher by several Gentlewomen in the Neighborhood, distinguished by their extraordinary Skill in HOUSEWIFRY.

Well done, Elizabeth Maxon. For 1764, a lady getting a book published is not too shabby. Also, I love how they've spelled "housewifry." Say it out loud. Roll the syllables around in your mouth. I just chose one recipe from this, because the menus are mostly meat. Meat, meat, meat. I love meat, but I don't have stacks of cash lying around to put on this sort of business with:
 First Course.
At the Top collar'd Calf Head, with stew'd Pallets and Veal
Sweetbreads, and forc'd Meat-Balls.
At the Bottom Udder and Tongue or a Haunch of Venison
In the Middle an Ambler of Cockles, or roast Lobster.
Two Side dishes, Pigeon Pie and boiled Chickens.

Second Course.
At the Top a roast Pheasant.
At the Bottom a Turkey.
For the four Corners.
Partridges, Artichoke-Bottoms fry'd, Oyster Loaves,
and Teal.
So our non-meat fare is down to... artichoke bottoms. A calf head, a... pallet, veal, brains, pureed meat in balls, udder, tongue/haunch of deer, shellfish/lobster, pigeon pie, boiled chickens, roast pheasant, turkey, partridges, oyster loaf, and teal (a kind of bird), and the only vegetation is... artichoke bottoms. Really? Really? I mean, my gosh. Did she leave any branch of the animal kingdom untouched? No wonder they were such diminutive people! EAT A DARN SALAD.


IMG_2821.jpg picture by seshet27

To make common CURD CHEESE CAKES.

Take a pennyworth of curds, mix them with a little cream, beat four
eggs, put to them six ounces of clarified butter, a quarter of a pound
of sugar, half a pound of currans well wash'd, and a little lemon-peel
shred, a little nutmeg, a spoonful of rose-water or brandy, whether you
please, and a little salt, mix altogether, and bake them in small petty

IMG_2823.jpg picture by seshet27

Common Cheese Cakes II
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs
6 T. melted butter
1/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. currants (or raisins)
orange peel
1/4 t. rose water

Mix all ingredients together, pour into 4 ramekins (or one pie pan, I'm not going to stop you, and neither is Elizabeth Moxon. I don't care and she's dead.), and bake at 350 F. for 25 minutes. Chill. Then chill the cheese cakes.


I served these to my husband and two of my friends. The second picture shows the result. For 1764, probably not bad. For 2010, this was really truly odd. Just... odd. It was a lot like rice pudding, actually. The heat made the cottage cheese go kind of boingy like rice. It wasn't too bad, but it's something you'd have to get used to. One friend ate it all, puzzled as to what to think the whole time, I ate a few bites, and Friend II and Husband ate one bite apiece. It wasn't too sweet, which is about right for sugar being so expensive.

I had to estimate what one ha'pennyworth (because I halved it, you see) of cheese curd would be, and it seemed about right. Cottage cheese is close to what they are looking for here, and they add in milk back to the curd already, making moistening with cream unnecessary. They also add salt, so if you make this, don't add any. I did. Do not follow my example.


Kathleen said...

I like that the one vegetable item in that menu is fried.

I mean, all that meat is unhealthy enough, let's fry the veggies, shall we?

Jana said...

Ooh, didn't notice that! ...Probably it's fried in lard. Or drippings from, oh, I don't know, ANY OF THOSE OTHER DISHES.