Welcome to How To Cook That I’m Ann Reardon
and today we are making a 200-year-old cheesecake! A few years ago my mum gifted me this beautiful
200-year-old cookbook that her mother-in-law had given to her. It’s just amazing to look through … even
the language that it uses. In the intro here it says that it contains
“everything yet invented for the gratification of the appetite and a complete knowledge of
the culinary art” it’s a pretty amazing claim right there. It’s got interesting recipes like how to cook
cod’s head… calf’s heart… dried salmon but of course I was more interested not so
much in all of those savoury things but further on in the book to the dessert section. So today I’m going to challenge myself to
make a fine cheesecake from 200 years ago. Step one says ‘put a pint of cream into a
saucepan over the fire and when it is warm add to it 5 quarts of milk immediately taken
from the cow’. Well, that could be a problem because we don’t
have a cow but look I found some cows. “Want to have a staring competition?” They are so good at this! Now even though I found cows it is actually
illegal to sell unpasturised milk in Australia so I couldn’t buy their milk. Assuming that you also don’t have a cow at
your house then put the milk and the cream into a saucepan and heat until it feels the
same temperature as you, not hot, not cold – body temperature. Just like it would be if it had come fresh
from a cow. Next it says “Add to it some Rennet and give
it a stir about and when it is turned, put it into a linen cloth or bag.” Oh my we are making cheese. 200 years ago if you wanted to make a cheesecake
the first thing you had to do was make cheese. I don’t have any rennet so I am using junket
tablets that have rennet in them and just dissolving those in half a cup of water. If you’re new around here I’ll put all the
recipe quantities on the howtocookthat.net website like I do for all my recipes and there’s
a link to that below. Add that to the milk and stir it about the
leave that to side. Now further on in the recipe it says that
we need macaroons – and the recipe for them is on another page. “Blanch and beat fine a pound of sweet almonds
and put to them to a pound of sugar and a little rose water to stop them from oiling.” I’m going to cheat a little bit here and use
some almonds that are already ground. And then add some of them to the mortar and
add the sugar and a little rose water just like it said. And then grind those together. Macarons nowadays have icing sugar and caster
sugar so this process will grind some of that sugar finer. It will probably depend how long you do it
for as to how much of it and how fine it is. Return that to the bowl with the rest of the
almonds. And then it says: “Beat the whites of the
eggs to a froth.” Now, normally I’d just use my mixer for this
of course, but this book was published 97 years before the electric mixer was invented. So using the whisk … my arm is getting so
tired, okay swap arms. This arm is not as fast as the other one,
so swap back. And let’s just put it in fast forward… and the egg whites are done – yesssss whoo. I did it by hand for the first time ever! Next it says: “Put them in and work the whole
well together.” I’m putting them in
And working them together. This mixture is very similar to macarons we
know today. It is just a little bit drier. The light fluffy macarons with a little foot
were invented 100 years later after this recipe book was published – it’s amazing what a difference
playing with the proportions of an existing recipe can make. Next it says: “Drop them onto wafer paper
and grate sugar over them and put them into the oven.” I soooo want to use a piping bag for this
but we are about 20 years too early for that. So spoonfuls will have to do, then sprinkle
them with a little sugar. Then bake those in the oven, there is a total
fire ban here in Australia so I can’t use a wood fire oven even if I had one – so you’re
going to have to let me cheat a little and use the electric oven. They don’t look like the macarons we have
today but they do actually taste exactly the same. Back to our milk, by now it has thickened
and split into curds and whey. Place a cheese cloth over a sieve and scoop
in the milk mixture in and you’ll see the whey drips leaving those thickened curds at
the top. Once you have it all in the cloth tie it off
at the top and allow it to hang over the bowl so the rest of the whey can drip out. Or as the books says “let it drain well away
from the whey but do not squeeze it too much”. About an hour later you are left with cheese
that is very similar in texture to ricotta cheese that you’d buy from the shop. Next it says: “put it into a mortar and pound
it as fine as butter, add to in half a pound of sweet almonds blanched, and half a pound
of macaroons, both beat exceedingly fine.” Now my mortar is not as big as theirs is obviously
so I’m going to have to do this in batches and tip it into a bowl once it’s fine. As I grind these macarons I realize that the
mortar and pestel is basically the food processor of the 1800’s “Then add the yolks … a grated nutmeg, a
little rosewater or orange flower water and half a pound of fine sugar. Mix all well together”. Now if you want a smooth mixture you’re going
to have to pound it together in your motar and pestel. We have it so easy now, we can just chuck
this into a food processor and get it smooth in seconds. It’s a lot more excercise cooking when you
don’t have electricity. Once you’ve got it smooth mix it together
with rest of the cheese. And then it says: “Melt a pound and a quarter
of butter and stir it in well.” It is interesting that in these old recipe
books they don’t list the ingredients at the top it is just through the recipe – I assume
that is because the cost of printing would have been much higher than it is now. So after we’ve made our filling it says:”Then
make a puff paste in this manner. Take a pound of fine flour, wet it with cold
water, roll it out, put into it by degrees a pound of fresh butter and shake a little
flour on each coat as you roll it.” Now if I didn’t already know how to make puff
pastry those instructions would be way too concise for me to figure it out. They must be assuming you have someone in
the household who can teach you how to do this. Adding water to the flour to make a dough
is pretty self explanatory. Then you need to take your butter and flatten
it between two sheets of baking paper until you have a nice even layer and put that in
the fridge. While that’s chilling roll out your dough. You want all your ingredients cold when you’re
making puff pastry. Once you have a nice rectangle, put the butter
on one side and peel off the baking paper. And then fold the rest of the pastry over
the top, make sure there’s no air in it. Seal in the edges and trim it off to make
a nice, neat square. So at this stage we have two layers of pastry
and one layer of butter in the middle. Fold that in half and roll it out, now we
are creating more layers of pastry separated by the butter and the more you fold and roll,
the finer those layers of pastry get. So you get that flaky puff pastry. Give it another fold then let it rest in the
fridge for about 30 minutes. You want to repeat that process two more times
and then you are ready to use it. Roll it out and line your dish, making sure
that you don’t have any air trapped under the pastry. Then trim around the outside, now I am leaving
a border right over the edge there so that we have some pastry that can puff up. The stuff that is on the base and around the
sides is not going to puff up because of the weight of the filling. Then pour in your filling into the base and
bake that in the oven. Once it is baked you want to leave it to cool
completely and I think it’s going to need some berries on top so we’d better go and
pick some like they would have 200-years-ago.. Wash your berries and pile them on top. And the big question … what does the 200-year-old
cheesecake recipe taste like? Well to me it tastes a bit like a rich ricotta
cheesecake, it’s a little bit dry for me so it needs the fruit and little cream – un-whipped
because I don’t want to beat it by hand! Give this video a thumbs up if you’d like
to see more 200-year-old recipes, subscribe to How To Cook That and turn on notifications
by clicking on that BELL for more crazy, sweet creations each week. Make it a great week and I’ll see you on Friday.