Polenta or, as is Commonly Called, Miliacium – Platina (1465 Rome Italy)

This was redacted for the Virtual cooking challenge #4 – Polenta or, as is Commonly Called, Miliacium which was posted on the SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display.

This is a picture of a recipe from “Platina: On Right Pleasure and Good Health” (1465 Rome Italy) . ( pages 366-367. Platina is credited as “the first cookbook ever printed.

Sylvie’s redaction for Polenta/Miliacium

1 gallon whole milk
2 tsp citric acid

Make green cheese. In a large non-reactive pot bring the milk to 195 degress F while stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Add citric acid and stir continuously for 10 seconds. Let rest for 5 minutes. (Normally this is where I’d add 2 tsp salt and any mix ins to the green cheese, but in this case I wanted just the cheese without any flavorings). Pour this into tight cheese cloth (or flour sack) and suspend this until most of the whey has drained out 4-8 hours. This should create about a pound of green cheese which is also sometimes call farmer’s cheese.

1 lb green cheese (from above)
7 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup pearled barley which has been smashed in a bullet blender

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix cheese and eggs to combine. To that add sugar and barley meal. Stir well to combine. Pour this into a well greased dish. I used an 8×8 glass dish greased with butter. Bake this uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour. Check it starting at 45 minutes to see if the center is set.

Post Mortem:
The final dish I made was very sweet. It’s very good but as it stands I would reserve this to being a dessert dish. The final dish reads like a corn bread, grits or a bread pudding. The additional sprinkle of sugar and rose water seems gratuitous.

I’m glad that I went the extra step to make green cheese as it reminded me that green cheese is very easy to make but in future it would probably be okay to start with cottage cheese and hang that to remove the whey. It might even be interesting to try making this with some of the green cheese replaced with goat cheese.

I think if this were less sweet it would work well as an easy breakfast option to feed a bunch of people. If I were cooking it for that I would cut the sugar down probably to 1/4 cup sugar and substitute almond meal for the barley. This should make this be a bit more savory while still having a fair amount of protein in the dish. Hell at that point maybe I should add crumbled bacon and a sharp gouda or even a nice sharp cheddar (though at that point I’m not sure I’m making the same dish). NOM NOM NOM.

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