This is an authentic version of an ancient Roman cheesecake known as a 'Savillum'. It is extremely different to the modern versions so be prepared.
this recipe is ok as a twist on modern cheesecake, it uses unique ingredients yet still tastes familiar enough to be what we consider a 'cheesecake'. it's not delicious, but it's ok. it is also not what it claims to be. this recipe is a heavily altered combination of two recipes mentioned in ancient texts. the reason i am rating it so low for an ok cheesecake is because most, if not all, people looking for this recipe are going to be making it because they think it's 'authentic ancient roman', which it isnt, although the explanation claims it is. it's only real claim is that it's touted as an ancient recipe, so people will make it for things like toga parties. the cheesecake itself is mediocre at best. it is not as sweet as what we consider cheesecake to be, and the bay leaves impart a slightly odd flavor. the romans didn't have citrus fruit until the 4th century ad, and it is disputed if they had it at all. savillum and the other recipe this stems from, libum, were from texts by Cato the elder, about 500 years before that. it was probably added to this recipe to suit our tastes, as cheesecake is often made with lemon. savillum also did not use bay leaves, there was a different recipe for cheese buns (unsweetened) that were placed on bay leaves to bake before they were soaked in honey after baking. - 14 Apr 2011 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
SOO GOOD I wasn't quite expecting for the texture, I was more expecting a cheese-cakey more texture, but still very very good. - 29 Jan 2009 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
Looking for a easy, low fat dessert? This is it! The cheesecake came out of the pan easily and had a nice taste. It got 4 stars for presentation. Watch carefully, if you get a nice golden top, the edges may burn. The directions didn't say anything about greasing the pan, so I didn't... but probably should have. I didn't even think about it until it was too late and the cheesecake was in the oven. I'd make this again. I probably wouldn't serve this for company until I ironed out the issues of presentation and timing. Also, the cheesecake was only 3/4" high - so doubling the recipe may give it a little more volume. - 14 Jun 2009 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)