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Complete Book of Cheese, The

Chapter
Eight

Pizzas, Blintzes, Pastes, Cheese Cakes, etc.

No matter how big or hungry your family, you can always appease them with pizza.

Pizza—The Tomato Pie of Sicily

DOUGH

1 package yeast, dissolved in warm water
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Make dough of this. Knead 12 to 20 minutes. Pat into a ball, cover it tight and let stand 3 hours in warm place until twice the size.

TOMATO PASTE

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
1 can Italian tomato paste
8 to 10 anchovy filets, cut small
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt
Crushed chili pepper
2½ cups water

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In the oil fry onion tender but not too brown, stir in tomato paste and keep stirring 3 or 4 minutes. Season, pour water over and simmer slowly 25 to 30 minutes. Add anchovies when sauce is done.

CHEESE

½ cup grated Italian, Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino, depending on your pocketbook

Procure a low, wide and handsome tin pizza pan, or reasonable substitute, and grease well before spreading the well-raised dough ½ to ¾ inch thick. Poke your finger tips haphazardly into the dough to make marks that will catch the sauce when you pour it on generously. Shake on Parmesan or Parmesan-type cheese and bake in hot oven ½ hour, then ¼ hour more at lower heat until the pizza is golden-brown. Cut in wedges like any other pie and serve.

The proper pans come all tin and a yard wide, down to regular apple-pie size, but twelve-inch pans are the most popular.

Miniature Pizzas

Miniature pizzas are split English muffins rubbed with garlic or onion and brushed with olive oil. Cover with tomato sauce and a slice of Mozzarella cheese, anchovy, oregano and grated Parmesan, and heat 8 minutes.

Italian-Swiss Scallopini

1 pound paper-thin veal cutlets
½ cup flour
½ cup grated Swiss and Parmesan, mixed
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with water
Butter
Salt
Paprika

Moisten veal with egg and roll in flour mixed with cheese, quickly brown, lower flame and cook 4 to 5 minutes till tender. Dust with paprika and salt.

Neapolitan Baked Lasagne, or Stuffed Noodles

1 pound lasagne, or other wide noodles
1½ cups cooked thick tomato sauce with meat
½ pound Ricotta or cottage cheese
1 pound Mozzarella or American Cheddar
¼ pound grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino
Salt
Pepper, preferably crushed red pods
A shaker filled with grated Parmesan, or reasonable substitute

Cook wide or broad noodles 15 to 20 minutes in rapidly boiling salted water until tender, but not soft, and drain. Pour ½ cup of tomato sauce in baking dish or pan, cover with about ½ of the noodles, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, a layer of sauce, a layer of Mozzarella and dabs of Ricotta. Continue in this fashion, alternating layers and seasoning each, ending with a final spread of sauce, Parmesan and red pepper. Bake firm in moderate oven, about 15 minutes, and served in wedges like pizza, with canisters of grated Parmesan, crushed red pepper pods and more of the sauce to taste.

Little Hats, Cappelletti

Freshly made and still moist Cappelletti, little hats, contrived out of tasty paste, may be had in any Little Italy macaroni shop. These may be stuffed sensationally in four different flavors with only two cheeses.

Brown slices of chicken and ham separately, in butter. Mince each very fine and divide in half, to make four mixtures in equal amounts. Season these with salt, pepper and nutmeg and a binding of 2 parts egg yolk to I part egg white.

With these meat mixtures you can make four different-flavored fillings:

Ham and Mozzarella Chicken and Mozzarella Ham and Ricotta Chicken and Ricotta

Fill the little hats alternately, so you'll have the same number of each different kind. Pinch edges tight together to keep the stuffings in while boiling fast for 5 minutes in chicken broth (or salted water, if you must).

Since these Cappelletti are only a pleasing form and shape of ravioli, they are served in the same way on hot plates, with plain tomato sauce and Parmesan or reasonable substitute. If we count this final seasoning as an ingredient, this makes three cheeses, so that each of half a dozen taste buds can be getting individual sensations without letting the others know what it's doing.

Dauphiny Ravioli

This French variant of the famous Italian pockets of pastry follows the Cappelletti pattern, with any fresh goat cheese and Gruyère melted with butter and minced parsley and boiled in chicken broth.

Italian Fritters

¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ pound fresh Ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup shredded Mozzarella
Rind of ½ lemon, grated
3 tablespoons brandy
Salt

Stir and mix well together in the order given and let stand 1 hour or more to thicken the batter so it will hold its shape while cooking.

Shape batter like walnuts and hold one at a time in the bowl of a long-handled spoon dipped for 10 seconds in boiling hot oil. Fritter the "walnuts" so, and serve at once with powdered sugar.

To make fascinating cheese croquettes, mix several contrasting cheeses in this batter.

Italian Asparagus and Cheese

This gives great scope for contrasting cheeses in one and the same dish. In a shallow baking pan put a foundation layer of grated Cheddar and a little butter. Cover with a layer of tender parts of asparagus, lightly salted; next a layer of grated Gruyère with a bit of butter, and another of asparagus. From here you can go as far as you like with varied layers of melting cheeses alternating with asparagus, until you come to the top, where you add two more kinds of cheese, a mixture of powdered Parmesan with Sapsago to give the new-mown hay scent.

Garlic on Cheese

For one sandwich prepare 30 or 40 garlic cloves by removing skins and frying out the fierce pungence in smoking olive oil. They skip in the hot pan like Mexican jumping beans. Toast one side of a thickish slice of bread, put this side down on a grilling pan, cover it with a slice of imported Swiss Emmentaler or Gruyère, of about the same size, shape and thickness. Stick the cooked garlic cloves, while still blistering hot, in a close pattern into the cheese and brown for a minute under the grill. Salt lightly and dash with paprika for the color. (Recipe by Bob Brown in Merle Armitage's collection Fit for a King.)

Spaniards call garlic cloves teeth, Englishmen call them toes. It was cheese and garlic together that inspired Shakespeare to Hotspur's declaration in King Henry IV:

I had rather live
With cheese and garlic in a windmill, far,
Than feed on cates and have him talk to me
In any summer-house in Christendom.

Some people can take a mere soupçon of the stuff, while others can down it by the soup spoon, so we feel it necessary in reprinting our recipe to point to the warning of another early English writer: "Garlic is very dangerous to young children, fine women and hot young men."

Blintzes

This snow white member of the crêpes suzette sorority is the most popular deb in New York's fancy cheese dishes set. Almost unknown here a decade or two ago, it has joined blinis, kreplach and cheeseburgers as a quick and sustaining lunch for office workers.

2 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup sifted flour
Salt
Cooking oil
½ pound cottage cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sour cream

Beat 1 egg light and make a batter with the water, flour and salt to taste. Heat a well-greased small frying pan and make little pancakes with 2 tablespoons of batter each. Cook the cakes over low heat and on one side only. Slide each cake off on a white cloth, with the cooked side down. While these are cooling make the blintz-filling by beating together the second egg, cottage cheese and butter. Spread each pancake thickly with the mixture and roll or make into little pockets or envelopes with the end tucked in to hold the filling. Cook in foil till golden-brown and serve at once with sufficient sour cream to smother them.

Vatroushki

Russia seems to have been the cradle of all sorts of blinis and blintzes, and perhaps the first, of them to be made was vatroushki, a variant of the blintzes above. The chief difference is that rounds of puff paste dough are used instead of the hot cakes, 1 teaspoon of sugar is added to the cottage cheese filling, and the sour cream, ½ cup, is mixed into this instead of being served with it. Little cups filled with this mix are made by pinching the edges of the dough together. The tops are brushed with egg yolk and baked in a brisk oven.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1 cup prepared pancake
4 tablespoons top milk or light cream
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups cottage cheese, put through ricer

Mix batter and stir in cheese last until smooth.

Cheese Waffles

2 cups prepared waffle flour
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
¼ cup melted butter
¾ cup grated sharp Cheddar
3 egg whites, beaten stiff

Stir up a smooth waffle batter of the first 4 ingredients and fold in egg whites last.

Today you can get imported canned Holland cheese waffles to heat quickly and serve.

Napkin Dumpling

1 pound cottage cheese
⅛ pound butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten
¾ cup Farina
½ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon and brown sugar

Mix together all ingredients (except the cinnamon and sugar) to form a ball. Moisten a linen napkin with cold water and tie the ball of dough in it. Simmer 40 to 50 minutes in salted boiling water, remove from napkin, sprinkle well with cinnamon and brown sugar, and serve. This is on the style of Hungarian potato and other succulent dumplings and may be served with goulash or as a meal in itself.

BUTTER AND CHEESE
Where fish is scant
And fruit of trees,
Supply that want
With butter and cheese.
Thomas Tusser in
The Last Remedy

Butter and cheese are mixed together in equal parts for cheese butter. Serbia has a cheese called Butter that more or less matches Turkey's Durak, of which butter is an indispensable ingredient, and French Cancoillote is based on sour milk simmered with butter.

The English have a cheese called Margarine, made with the butter substitute. In Westphalia there are no two schools of thought about whether 'tis better to eat butter with cheese or not, for in Westphalia sour-milk cheese, butter is mixed in as part of the process of making. The Arabs press curds and butter together to store in vats, and the Scots have Crowdie or Cruddy Butter.

BUTTERMILK CHEESE

The value of buttermilk is stressed in an extravagant old Hindu proverb: "A man may live without bread, but without buttermilk he dies."

Cheese was made before butter, being the earliest form of dairy manufacturing, so buttermilk cheese came well after plain milk cheese, even after whey cheese. It is very tasty, and a natural with potato salad. The curd is salted after draining and sold in small parchment packages.

German "leather" cheese has buttermilk mixed with the plain. The Danes make their Appetitost with sour buttermilk. Ricotta Romano, for a novelty, is made of sheep buttermilk.

COTTAGE CHEESE

In America cottage cheese is also called pot, Dutch and smearcase. It is the easiest and quickest to make of all cheeses, by simply letting milk sour, or adding buttermilk to curdle it, then stand a while on the back of the kitchen stove, since it is homemade as a rule. It is drained in a bag of cheesecloth and may be eaten the same day, usually salted.

The Pilgrims brought along the following two tried and true recipes from olde England, and both are still in use and good repute:

Cottage Cheese No. 1

Let milk sour until clotted. Pour boiling water over and it will immediately curd. Stir well and pour into a colander. Pour a little cold water on the curd, salt it and break it up attractively for serving.

Cottage Cheese No. 2

A very rich and tasty variety is made of equal parts whole milk and buttermilk heated together to just under the boiling point. Pour into a linen bag and let drain until next day. Then remove, salt to taste and add a bit of butter or cream to make a smooth, creamy consistency, and pat into balls the size of a Seville orange.

CREAM CHEESE

In England there are three distinct manners of making cream cheese:

  1. Fresh milk strained and lightly drained.
  2. Scalded cream dried and drained dry, like Devonshire.
  3. Rennet curd ripened, with thin, edible rind, or none, packaged
    in small blocks or miniature bricks by dairy companies, as
    in the U.S. Philadelphia Cream cheese.

American cream cheeses follow the English pattern, being named from then: region or established brands owned by Breakstone, Borden, Kraft, Shefford, etc.

Cream cheese such as the first listed above is easier to make than cottage cheese or any other. Technically, in fact, it is not a cheese but the dried curd of milk and is often called virginal. Fresh milk is simply strained through muslin in a perforated box through which the whey and extra moisture drains away for three or four days, leaving a residue as firm as fresh butter.

In America, where we mix cream cheese with everything, a popular assortment of twelve sold in New York bears these ingredients and names: Chives, Cherry, Garden, Caviar, Lachs, Pimiento, Olive and Pimiento, Pineapple, Relish, Scallion, Strawberry, and Triple Decker of Relish, Pimiento and Cream in layers.

In Italy there is Stracchino Cream, in Sweden Chantilly. Finally, to come to France, la Foncée or Fromage de Pau, a cream also known around the world as Crême d'Isigny, Double Crême, Fromage à la Crême de Gien, Pots de Crême St. Gervais, etc. etc.

The French go even farther by eating thick fresh cream with Chevretons du Beaujolais and Fromage Blanc in the style that adds à la crême to their already glorified names.

The English came along with Snow Cream Cheese that is more of a dessert, similar to Italian Cream Cheese.

We'd like to have a cheese ice cream to contrast with too sweet ones. Attempts at this have been made, both here and in England; Scottish Caledonian cream came closest. We have frozen cheese with fruit, to be sure, but no true cheese ice cream as yet, though some cream cheeses seem especially suitable.

The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And I met with a ballad I can't say where,
That wholly consisted of lines like these,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese.)

In this parody by Calverly, "The Farmer's Daughter," the ingredients suggest cheese cake, dating back to 1381 In England. From that year Kettner in his Book of the Table quotes this recipe:

Take cream of almonds or of cow milk and beat them well together; and make small coffins (that is, cases of pastry), and do it (put it) therein; and do (put) thereto sugar and good powders. Or take good fat cheese and eggs and make them of divers colours, green, red or yellow, and bake them or serve them forth.

This primitive "receipt" grew up into Richmond maids of honor that caused Kettner to wax poetic with:

At Richmond we are permitted to touch with our lips a countless number of these maids—light and airy as the "airy, fairy Lilian." What more can the finest poetry achieve in quickening the things of earth into tokens and foretastes of heaven, with glimpses of higher life and ethereal worlds.

CHEESECAKES

Coronation Cheese Cake

The Oxford Dictionary defines cheese cake as a "tartlet filled with sweet curds, etc." This shows that the cheese is the main thing, and the and-so-forth just a matter of taste. We are delighted to record that the Lord Mayor of London picked traditional cheese tarts, the maids of honor mentioned earlier in this section, as the Coronation dessert with which to regale the second Queen Elizabeth at the city luncheon in Guildhall This is most fitting, since these tarts were named after the maids of honor at the court of the first Queen Elizabeth. The original recipe is said to have sold for a thousand pounds. These Richmond maids of honor had the usual cheese cake ingredients: butter and eggs and pounds of cheese, but what made the subtle flavor: nutmeg, brandy, lemon, orange-flower water, or all four?

More than 2,000 years before this land of Coronation cheese cake, the Greeks had a word for it—several in fact: Apician Cheese Cake, Aristoxenean, and Philoxenean among them. Then the Romans took it over and we read from an epistle of the period:

Thirty times in this one year, Charinus, while you have been arranging to make your will, have I sent you cheese cakes dripping with Hyblaean Thyme. (Celestial honey, such as that of Mount Hymettus we still get from Greece.)

Plato mentioned cheese cake, and a town near Thebes was named for it before Christ was born, at a time when cheese cakes were widely known as "dainty food for mortal man."

Today cheese cakes come in a half dozen popular styles, of which the ones flavored with fresh pineapple are the most popular in New York. But buyers delight in every sort, including the one hundred percent American type called cheese pies.

Indeed, there seems to be no dividing line between cheese cakes and cheese pies. While most of them are sweet, some are made piquant with pimientos and olives. We offer a favorite of ours made from popcorn-style pot cheese put through a sieve:

Pineapple Cheese Cake

2½ pounds sieved pot cheese
1-inch piece vanilla bean
¼ pound sweet butter, melted
½ small box graham crackers, crushed fine
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups milk
⅓ cup flour

In a big bowl mix everything except the graham crackers and pineapple in the order given above. Butter a square Pyrex pan and put in the graham-cracker dust to make,a crust. Cover this evenly with the pineapple and pour in the cheese-custard mixture. Bake I hour in a "quiet" oven, as the English used to say for a moderate one, and when done set aside for 12 hours before eating.

Because of the time and labor involved maybe you had better buy your cheese cakes, even though some of the truly fine ones cost a dime a bite, especially the pedigreed Jewish-American ones in Manhattan. Reuben's and Lindy's are two leaders at about five dollars a cake. Some are fruited with cherries or strawberries.

Cheese Custard

4 eggs, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
A dash of pepper or paprika
3 tablespoons melted butter
A few drops of onion juice, if desired
4 tablespoons grated Swiss (imported)

Mix all together, set in molds in pan of hot water, and bake until brown.

Open-faced Cheese Pie

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 pounds soft smearcase

Whip everything together and fill two pie crusts. Bake without any upper crust.

The Apple-pie Affinity

Hot apple pie was always accompanied with cheese in New England, even as every slice of apple pie in Wisconsin has cheese for a sidekick, according to law. Pioneer hot pies were baked in brick ovens and flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon and rose geranium. The cheese was Cheddar, but today all sorts of pie and cheese combinations are common, such as banana pie and Gorgonzola, mince with Danish Blue, pumpkin with cream cheese, peach pie with Hablé, and even a green dusting of Sapsago over raisin pie.

Apple pie au gratin, thickly grated over with Parmesan, Caciocavallo or Sapsago, is something special when served with black coffee. Cider, too, or applejack, is a natural accompaniment to any dessert of apple with its cheese.

Apple Pie Adorned

Apple pie is adorned with cream and cheese by pressing cream cheese through a ricer and folding in plenty of double cream beaten thick and salted a little. Put the mixture in a pastry tube and decorate top of pie in fanciful fashion.

Apple Pie á la Cheese

Lay a slice of melting cheese on top of apple (or any fruit or berry) pie, and melt under broiler 2 to 3 minutes.

Cheese-crusty Apple Pie

In making an apple pie, roll out the top crust and sprinkle with sharp Cheddar, grated, dot with butter and bake golden-brown.

Flan au Fromage

To make this Franche-Comté tart of crisp paste, simply mix coarsely grated Gruyère with beaten egg, fill the tart cases and bake.

For any cheese pastry or fruit and custard pie crusts, work in tasty shredded sharp Cheddar in the ratio of 1 to 4 parts of flour.

Christmas Cake Sandwiches

A traditional Christmas carol begs for:

A little bit of spice cake
A little bit of cheese,
A glass of cold water,
A penny, if you please.

For a festive handout cut the spice cake or fruit cake in slices and sandwich them with slices of tasty cheese between.

To maintain traditional Christmas cheer for the elders, serve apple pie with cheese and applejack.

Angelic Camembert

1 ripe Camembert, imported
1 cup Anjou dry white wine
½ pound sweet butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely grated toast crumbs

Lightly scrape all crusty skin from the Camembert and when its creamy interior stands revealed put it in a small, round covered dish, pour in the wine, cover tightly so no bouquet or aroma can possibly escape, and let stand overnight.

When ready to serve drain off and discard any wine left, dry the cheese and mash with the sweet butter into an angelic paste. Reshape in original Camembert form, dust thickly with the crumbs and there you are.

Such a delicate dessert is a favorite with the ladies, since some of them find a prime Camembert a bit too strong if taken straight.

Although A. W. Fulton's observation in For Men Only is going out of date, it is none the less amusing:

In the course of a somewhat varied career I have only met one woman who appreciated cheese. This quality in her seemed to me so deserving of reward that I did not hesitate to acquire her hand in marriage.

Another writer has said that "only gourmets among women seem to like cheese, except farm women and foreigners." The association between gourmets and farm women is borne out by the following urgent plea from early Italian landowners:

Ai contadini non far sapere
Quanta è buono it cacio con le pere.
Don't let the peasants know
How good are cheese and pears.

Having found out for ourselves, we suggest a golden slice of Taleggio, Stracchino, or pale gold Bel Paese to polish off a good dinner, with a juicy Lombardy pear or its American equivalent, a Bartlett, let us say.

This celestial association of cheese and pears is further accented by the French:

Entre la poire et le fromage
Between the pear and the cheese.

This places the cheese after the fruit, as the last course, in accordance with early English usage set down by John Clarke in his Paroemiologia:

After cheese comes nothing.

But in his Epigrams Ben Jonson serves them together.

Digestive cheese, and fruit there sure will be.

That brings us back to cheese and pippins:

I will make an end of my dinner; there's
pippins and cheese to come.
Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor

When should the cheese be served? In England it is served before or after the fruit, with or without the port.

Following The Book of Keruynge in modern spelling we note when it was published in 1431 the proper thing "after meat" was "pears, nuts, strawberries, whortleberries (American huckle berries) and hard cheese." In modern practice we serve some suitable cheese like Camembert directly on slices of apple and pears, Gorgonzola on sliced banana, Hablé spread on pineapple and a cheese dessert tray to match the Lazy Lou, with everything crunchy down to Crackerjacks. Good, too, are figs, both fresh and preserved, stuffed with cream cheese, kumquats, avocados, fruity dunking mixtures of Pineapple cheese, served in the scooped-out casque of the cheese itself, and apple or pear and Provolone creamed and put back in the rind it came in. Pots of liquored and wined cheeses, no end, those of your own making being the best.

Champagned Roquefort or Gorgonzola

½ pound mellow Roquefort
¼ pound sweet butter, softened
A dash cayenne
¾ cup champagne

With a silver fork mix cheese and butter to a smooth paste, moistening with champagne as you go along, using a little more or less champagne according to consistency desired. Serve with the demitasse and cognac, offering, besides crackers, gilt gingerbread in the style of Holland Dutch cheese tasters, or just plain bread.

After dinner cheeses suggested by Phil Alpert are:

FROM FRANCE: Port-Salut, Roblochon, Coulommiers, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Calvados (try it with a spot of Calvados, apple brandy)

FROM THE U.S.: Liederkranz, Blue, Cheddar

FROM SWEDEN: Hablé Crême Chantilly

FROM ITALY: Taleggio, Gorgonzola, Provolone, Bel Paese

FROM HUNGARY: Kascaval

FROM SWITZERLAND: Swiss Gruyère

FROM GERMANY: Kümmelkäse

FROM NORWAY: Gjetost, Bondost

FROM HOLLAND: Edam, Gouda

FROM ENGLAND: Stilton

FROM POLAND: Warshawski Syr

 


 

 


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