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History Cookbook: Libum

This recipe is in categories Desserts, Romano-British
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  • The finished libum
    The finished libum
About this recipe
Healthiness : (112 votes)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 - 40 minutes
Number of servings: 3 or 4
View a modern version of this recipe

The third course at a Roman evening meal, or Cena, was known as the 'mensae secundae' or second tables - what we would call dessert. This course comprised fairly simple items such as fruits and nuts but sometimes cooked dishes were included. This dish, called Libum, is one such dish. It is a honey cheesecake and was a sacrificial dish reserved for special occasions.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Libum Picture Gallery

With thanks to Sally Grainger and Butser Ancient Farm for their help with this podcast

Ingredients
  • a small dish of soft cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3 handfuls of plain white flour
  • a pot of runny honey
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
Equipment
  • Hot surface and testum (Roman oven)
  • Large dish
  • Spoon
  • Knife
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Place burning embers around and on top of the testum (Roman oven) to heat it
  2. Add the soft cheese to the bowl and give it a stir
  3. Add the eggs and mix with the cheese
  4. Add a couple of handfuls of plain white flour and stir gently until you have a soft dough
  5. Use the third handful of flour to toss around the dough, using your hands, so that it does not stick to the sides of the dish
  6. Clear the fire away from the oven, using a suitable metal tool, and lift the oven away from the hot surface
  7. Place a couple a bay leaves on to the hot surface and then place the dough on top of the bay leaves
  8. Place the testum over the dough and cover once more with the embers and hot coals
  9. Leave for about 30 minutes
  10. Remove the fire from the testum and carefully remove the testum from over the dough
  11. Test the cake by tapping it, if it is done it should sound hollow
  12. Place the cake on a dish, cut it open and pour in the honey whilst the cake is still hot so it is absorbed into the cheesecake
  13. Serve
Libum - print view  Libum - print view

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Comments
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Name: Helloeverybody 23rd February 2016
is it ancient roman
Name: Jessica 1st May 2012
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