Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sweet as Cheese.

The trail of ‘sweet bacon’ led me to another term we hardly hear these days - ‘sweet cheese.’ ‘Sweet cheese’ is not necessarily cheese made from ‘sweet milk’, nor is it necessarily the same as ‘sweet-milk cheese.’

Firstly, ‘sweet milk’ is fresh, whole milk – neither skimmed nor soured. While we are at it, let us clarify ‘buttermilk’ too. Buttermilk is both ‘the acidulous milk which remains after the butter has been churned out’ (OED), and in modern times also a commercially prepared beverage and cooking ingredient made in the same way as yoghurt - by culturing it with specific bacteria.

‘Sweet-milk cheese’ is cheese made from sweet milk, such as the famous Dutch Edam.

‘Sweet cheese’ can mean one of several things, depending on regional use and dialect. It certainly may refer to cheese made from sweet milk, but it can also mean cheese prepared by rennet alone (it is ‘acid cheese’, if lactic acid is used), and cheese not properly cured and deficient in salt. Sometimes of course it can indicate cheese (soft curd cheese) sweetened with sugar as we do when we make cheesecakes and other dessert dishes. Here is a nice adaptable recipe for sweetened cheese.

Cheese with Cream (Fromage à la Crème)
This is made in different ways; sometimes with soft curds only, or with curds and cream, or with cream only when very thick. Gelatin dissolved in a little water may also be added. The curds or cream or both are beaten with an egg-beater, sweetened to taste with sugar, and flavored with essence. To make it more sightly, when beaten and flavored ,it is moulded, placed on ice to make it firm, and then turned over a dish, the mould removed and then served. Any kind of essence may be used to flavor it, such as vanilla, fleur d’orange, rose-water, violet, etc.; it may also he made with coffee, tea, chocolate, orange, lemon, etc. Put a few drops of very strong coffee, or tea, or chocolate, at the same time with the sugar and essence. With orange or lemon rub them on a piece of sugar, which you pound and use to sweeten the cheese. Three or more different ones may be made with a quart of curds; for instance flavor one third of it with essence another third with coffee or chocolate, and the other with orange. The colors will be different also. It is an excellent and refreshing entremets in summer- time. Cheese may also be flavored with pine-apple cut in very small dice and mixed with it instead of essence.
Hand-book of Practical Cookery, for Ladies and Professional Cooks, Pierre Blot, 1867.

Quotation for the Day.

Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love.
M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf (1942)

1 comment:

Mai Overton said...

Thank you for the wonderful quote! I love your blog!!!