Crowdie is a Scottish cream cheese made from cow's milk, which is often eaten along with oatcakes. The cheese is somewhat sour in taste and crumbly and soft in texture. It is low in fat and mild in taste, and resembles cottage cheese. It is available in long shapes or in tubs. Crannog, Hramsa and Gruth Dhu are popular brands of this type of cheese. The preparation involves addition of rennet to skimmed milk. Sour cream or herbs may also be added.
History of Crowdie
The Vikings introduced this cheese in Scotland in the 18th century. The Gaelic name for the cheese is Gruth. It was originally prepared at home.
Preparation of Crowdie Cheese at Home
For making the cheese at home, unpasteurized milk is first allowed to sour by addition of rennet, and the cream that rises up is removed. The souring milk thickens, and is heated till it curdles. The curds are poured into a bag made of muslin cloth, and the whey is allowed to drain. The curds obtained are mashed along with salt and some cream is added to them. They may also be pressed into shape and are allowed to age. The cheese develops a grey colored rind on aging.
Culinary uses of Crowdie Cheese
The cheese is usually eaten mixed with cream, and is quite often combined with oatcakes and fruits for preparing various delectable dishes.
Popular Crowdie Recipe: Cream Crowdie
It is a dessert made of fresh raspberries, double cream, honey, oatmeal, malt whiskey and crowdie cheese. Oatmeal is dipped in malt whiskey and honey overnight for preparing it. Raspberries and cheese are mixed into this. Cream is beaten stiff and put on the base of a wine goblet. It is topped with the oatmeal mixture, and again topped with cream. A small well is made in this and some clear honey is poured. The dish is thus ready to serve.
The cheese is low in fat and a good source of calcium, and hence helpful in bone and dental care, as well as conditions like osteoporosis.
The cheese is recommended for consumption before the Gaelic social gathering or Ceilidh, as it is known to lessen the ill effects of drinking.