BBC History Magazine - - Miscellany -

Del­i­cately flavoured with elder­flow­ers, this de­light­ful sweet tart – which takes its name from the Latin for elder­flower, sam­bu­cus – is thought to be one of Eng­land’s ear­li­est forms of cheese­cake.

In fact, Sam­bo­cade can be traced back to the din­ner ta­ble of me­dieval roy­alty. A recipe for the dessert ap­pears in a 1390 cook­book be­long­ing to the mas­ter chefs of Richard II, The Forme of Curry.

Orig­i­nal recipes in­structed cooks to make their own cream cheese by strain­ing milk curds for five hours, but for mod­ern bak­ers with a lit­tle less time on their hands, ri­cotta does the trick nicely.


225g short­crust pas­try 4 eggs, sep­a­rated 115g caster sugar 350g ri­cotta 85g bread­crumbs 3 clus­ters of fresh elder­flow­ers or 1 tbsp elder­flower cor­dial


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a deep 23cm bak­ing tin with the pas­try and bake blind.

In a bowl, cream to­gether the egg yolks and sugar un­til al­most white and shiny, then grad­u­ally add the ri­cotta, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion un­til well blended. Stir in the bread­crumbs.

If you’re us­ing fresh elder­flow­ers, re­move the flow­ers from the stems. Stir the flow­ers, or elder­flower cor­dial, into the cheese mix­ture.

In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk the egg whites un­til shiny and stiff, then fold into the main mix­ture. Spoon into the pre-baked pas­try case.

Bake in the oven for about 45 min­utes or un­til golden brown.

Serve warm or at room tem­per­a­ture with cream or creme fraiche.


“A great ex­cuse to go elder­flower pick­ing”

Dif­fi­culty: 4/10 Time: 1.5 hrs

Recipe sourced from cook­it­sim­

Ev­ery is­sue, pic­ture edi­tor Sa­man­tha Nott brings you a recipe from the past. This month it’s a 14th-cen­tury cheese­cake made by the chefs of Richard II

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