Roman Libum (ricotta cake soaked in honey)
I am researching for a novel set in the ancient Rome, and I came across a few dishes I want to try. I started with the Roman Libum, a honey cheese cake described by Cato in his collection of simple recipes for farmers.*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used the Belgioioso brand)
1 egg, beaten
enough butter to grease a cookie sheet
½ cup honey
Mix together flour, ricotta, and egg.
From the resulting soft and sticky dough cut four pieces. Mold the pieces in four cakes on a greased cookie sheet. Don’t worry if the cakes don’t look pretty.
Cover them with an aluminum tent. The Romans used a domed clay lid called testo to cover the cooking food. I didn’t have any terracotta pot oven-safe, and so I shaped a dome with the aluminum foil. I baked the cakes for 40 minutes at 425F.
Meanwhile, I melted the honey and then poured it over the cakes, and let them rest in the sweet bath for 30 minutes.
They smelled good and tasted better. First recipe done, so many more to try…
*I found this recipe in The History and Activities of the Roman Empire by Alexandra Fix