Sambocade – Rosewater and Elderflower cheese tart


Sambocade is an almost forgotten British recipe dating back to at least 1390AD.

If you are going to give it a bash be sure that you ask for permission from Hylde Moer before picking your elderflowers, remember if she says nothing it will mean you can pick as much as you like. Just save some to turn into elderberries later in the season!

Elderflowers can add a delicate perfume to food as well as drinks as this interesting recipe from 1390 suggests. Many thanks to Elly from Nutmegs Seven for allowing me to reproduce her interpretation of this recipe.

Sambocade – medieval elderflower cheese tart:

For the pastry:

  • 90g cold unsalted butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1-3 tbsp very cold water

For the filling:

  • 340g ricotta
  • 340g cottage cheese
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g butter, melted and cooled
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp rosewater

First, make the pastry. Put the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour using your fingers, then add the salt and sugar. Gradually add a little cold water, until the mixture only just starts to clump together. Press together with your fingers and quickly shape into a round disc, then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of about 0.5cm, then line the cake tin, aiming to have the pastry nearly all the way up the sides of the tin. Use a small ball of excess pastry to push the pastry to the edges and sides of the case. Don’t trim the top of the edges – leave them ragged as the case will shrink during baking, so it’s best to trim it afterwards.

Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper then fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Put everything except the rosewater in a food processor and blitz until thick and smooth. Add the rosewater a few drops at a time, tasting the mixture until there is a hint of rose but not too much – adding too much will make it taste like soap! When it’s right, pour it into the baked pastry case.

Bake in the oven for around an hour and 15 minutes – the cake is ready when it is lightly golden on top (cover with foil if it starts to brown too much), and has only a slight wobble in the middle when you shake it (it will continue to cook as it cools). Allow to cool completely in the tin, then trim the pastry edges with a sharp knife.

Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving, but remove from the fridge 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off it. Serve with raspberries or other fresh berries, or a gooseberry compote.


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