My good friend Robert Clark recently sent me a recipe by Julius Pollux, who lived in the 2nd century CE. He was an Alexandrian grammarian and sophist who taught at Athens, where he was appointed professor of rhetoric at the Academy by the emperor Commodus. Pollux was the author of the Onomasticon, a Greek thesaurus or dictionary of Attic synonyms and phrases, arranged not alphabetically but according to subject-matter, in ten books. It supplies in passing much rare and valuable information on many points of classical antiquity— objects in daily life, the theatre, politics and quotes numerous fragments of lost works.
Pollux describes a variety of flat cakes that did not match the recipes we know for cakes in ancient Rome, as these often included cottage cheese. This recipe is simpler, much more basic, and might have been Hellenic in origin. The recipe cold have been exotic enough for the ancient Romans for Pollux to include it in his writings.
Honey cakes were a staple of Noumenia sacrifices, and help grant authenticity to your Noumenia rituals. I made my first batch yesterday, and I would like o share the recipe and results with you. The recipe was found here.
200 g barley flour
100 ml water
3 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp olive oil
These measurements will make enough cakes to sacrifice to the entire pantheon; I used half of these measurements (but see notes below) and ended up with five large cakes; far more than any sacrifice might call for. A quarter, or even an eighth, of the ingredients will make enough for an entire Noumenia sacrifice.
The original recipe says to bake the cakes in an oven pre-heated to 200°C for about 15 minutes. I would suggest no more than twelve minutes, and will follow my own advice next time.
Transfer the cakes to a wire rack, cool and sacrifice. If you have made too many, save them in an air-tight container. The advantage of honey is not just its sweet taste, but its ability to keep pastry fresh for a long time, as it is an excellent liquid absorbent.