With just a few short days til TheOneRing.Net‘s “One Last Party”, I decided that it was finally time to develop my own Lembas recipe. I think it would be fun to bring it along on our journey (along with our Miruvor!): Cheaper than airport food, healthier – especially in light of the travel, looong hours, etc we are about to subject ourselves to – and, you know.. themeatic. Also, it involved creative problem solving, so a good way to keep me distracted while waiting!
The facts are these…
Lembas is a type of Elvish bread / cake / biscuit from Tolkien’s writings. First made by Yavanna from a special Elvish corn, it was nutritious, and known to be ridiculously sustaining – that “One small bite will fill the stomach of a grown man”, etc. It’s generally theorized that Lembas was based on hard tack – a very dry and bland bread product used for military rations and some traditional Newfoundland cooking.
“”Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.” – Fellowship of the Rings
“The food was mostly in the form of very thin cakes, made of meal that was baked a light brown on the outside, and inside was the colour of cream.” – Fellowship of the Ring
In the movies, Lembas was shown to be a crumbly white biscuit type food. Apparently they used an unsweetened shortbread that tasted awful. They were presented wrapped in leaves, and tied up with twine.
|Tolkien has said that they contain honey, and the “fruit of the Mallorn tree”, which was described as ” Its fruit was a nut with a silver shale” in Unfinished Tales.
Oh, and as one other challenge to this little exercise? Half of our little fellowship is allergic to gluten.
So.. lots of random information to work with, in addition to my own assumptions… and nutritional goals for the finished product.
To me, I picture this as a sweet thing, but not a DESSERT thing. They straight up mention its sweetness, afterall. I picture some of the sweetness coming from the (canon!) honey, but also from dried fruit, which would contribute to the nutrition of it. I think dried apples would work best given the colour description of the interior, but I think apricots are more in line with the complexity of flavour I’m picturing. I decided that there should be a small amount of spice for complexity, and a pinch of herbs to bring it back from being too desserty. In terms of “fruit of the mallorn tree”, I am choosing to interpret that as almonds.
Now, in terms of the nutritious / sustenance properties of Lembas… I wouldn’t have used white flour even if we weren’t working around gluten issues. There’s just no real nutrition there. I decided to use a small amount of masa flour, due to the original Lembas being corn based. Because I have no elven magical corn, it’ll have to do 🙂 Also, I’m supplementing it with protein powder and ground flax to contribute to nutrition. Non-magical, non-valar corn is only slightly more nutritious than wheat flour, after all.
Makes about 8 3″ Lembas biscuits
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup masa flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour (can use millet instead)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder*
1/2 cup Sliced almonds
1/2 cup Thinly sliced dried apricots
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup Ground flax seed (flax meal)
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp Cardamom
1/4 Rosemary, finely crumbled/chopped
corn starch, for rolling
Mix butter and honey together just until combined – do not cream it or over beat it. Add milk, gently mix until combined amd smooth
In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add dry mix to butter and honey, mix until combined. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/2″ thick. Cut into 3″ squares, and carefully transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between each. Cut a shallow “X” into each cake, if desired.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow cakes (biscuits?) to cool on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving, cool completely before serving.
If you want to get fancy with it, wrap them in leaves, and tie with twine. (I used collard greens). Oh, and be sure to “like” our Facebook page to see all of the crazy photos we’ll take when out in LA! Marie Porter, Cosplay Costumer!
* Choose your protein powder wisely! If it’s something you don’t like to drink, it’ll make the bread taste weird.
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