In honour of Britain’s favourite baking show returning to our screens tonight, Canterbury Roman Museum brings you three recipes from Ancient Rome for you to try at home: a signature bake, a technical challenge and a showstopper. Ready, set…BAKE!
Signature / Libum
Libum is an over 2000 years old cheese-based bread used in ancient Rome, often offered to Jupiter during wedding celebrations or to other deities during sacrifices.
- 250 grams of ricotta cheese
- 60 grams of flour
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Several Bay leaves
- Preheat your oven to 200°C degrees
- Take a deep baking tray and cover the bottom with a few bay leaves
- Mix the ricotta with the egg, flour, and salt until you get a smooth mixture.
- With the help of a spoon, take the dough and roll it to make several small ball shapes, and rest them in your baking tray on the bed of bay leaves.
- Put your tray in the oven and cook the Libum for 40 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Serve cool or warm.
Technical / Apicius’ Sweet Treats
This recipe comes to you directly from Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria (‘On the subject of cooking’), a roman cookbook dating from the 4th or 5th century AD that is now one of our principal sources on ancient Roman cuisine.
- ½ litre of milk
- 275 grams of flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Vegetable oil
- 250 grams of clear honey
- Freshly grounded black pepper
- Sieve the flour into a large pot
- Add milk to the flour slowly, to avoid any lumps
- On a medium flame, stir your mix over the stove until it thickens and becomes quite dense.
- On a flat surface, place a large sheet of lightly oiled baking paper.
- Pour your dough mixture on the baking paper, and spread it to achieve an even thickness of approximately 1 cm.
- Once the dough has cooled, cut it into equal pieces
- Fry the pieces in very hot oil, and remove any excess oil with a paper towel
- Once they have cooled slightly dip them in warm honey and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm
Showstopper / Honey Biscuits
As sugar was not available, honey was often the sweetener of choice in Roman desserts. The recipe for these biscuits uses traditional flavours like nutmeg and cinnamon, and honey to add sweetness, in true Roman style.
- 200 grams self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 80 grams almond flour
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 80 grams sugar
- 1 medium egg
- Chopped walnuts
- Pre-heat oven 180C
- Mix the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, almonds, almond extract and sugar in a bowl
- Beat the egg and a spoonful of milk in a separate bowl
- Add the egg mix to the flour and mix
- Make sure the dough is quite firm, add some flour if it is too wet.
- Divide the dough in 12 rounded parts and place in a baking tray
- Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and the biscuits in honey and ground walnuts whilst they are still warm. Serve cool or warm.
The Judges’ Table
Here at the Great Roman Bake Off no one is going home this week. However, do make sure to serve all your bakes in an authentic ancient Samian dish for the true Roman Bake Off experience.
You can find out more about Roman everyday life at Canterbury Roman Museum, open daily 10am – 5pm.