Happy 1945th birthday, Hadrian!
As is tradition, I baked Hadrian a birthday cake. This year, I chose to cook Cato’s recipe for savillum (a kind of cheesecake), one of my favourite desserts from antiquity.
Savillum recipe in Latin (from LacusCurtius):
Cato’s De Agricultura 84: Savillum hoc modo facito. Farinae selibram, casei P. II S una conmisceto quasi libum, mellis P.
Take ½ pound of flour, 2½ pounds of cheese, and mix together as for the libum; add ¼ pound of honey and 1 egg. Grease an earthenware dish with oil. When you have mixed thoroughly, pour into a dish and cover with a crock. See that you bake the centre thoroughly, for it is deepest there. When it is done, remove the dish, cover with honey, sprinkle with poppy-seed, place back under the crock for a while, then remove from the fire. Serve in the dish, with a spoon.
- 200g plain flour
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- poppy seeds
- 1 tsp olive oil
- bay leaves
Add the cheese to the flour and combine the two. Beat the egg and add it to the mixture with a tablespoon of honey. Knead into a dough, adding a little more flour if necessary. Use the olive oil to grease a round pan for cake baking. Add the bay leaves over the oil. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and cover it. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, spread 2 tablespoons of honey over the top of the bread and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Replace it in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
This savoury cheesecake was served with Conditum Paradoxum, an wonderfully sweet and spiced red wine. Propino tibi!