Legolas' Lembas (vegan)

 reading time: 4 min



In the morning, as they were beginning to pack their slender goods, Elves that could speak their tongue came to them and brought them many gifts of food and clothing for the journey. 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.
(...)
»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.«

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien


I fell in love with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth when I first read The Lord of the Rings at the age of twelve. Well, actually my dad read the entire epic to me because I wasn't grown-up enough to read it on my own. He had also read The Hobbit to me when I was even younger, perhaps eight or nine, and while I had enjoyed that, I didn't become as obsessed with it as I became with LOTR!

Lembas, also called "waybread", is a crisp and crumbly, pocket-sized biscuit-like bread or cake made by the Elves that stays fresh and "sweet" for months when wrapped in leaves from the Mallorn tree that grows in Lothlorien. It is supposed to be very strengthening, and "one small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man". According to the Elves of Lorien, it is similar to cram, a hardtrack sort of biscuit made by the men of Dale, but way more pleasant, and it is even better than Beorn's honey cakes. It's basically an extremely nutritious energy bar!

By the way, Tolkien himself has said that lembas contains honey and the "fruit of the Mallorn tree", which was described as "a nut with a silver shale" in Unfinished Tales. I'm choosing to interpret that as almonds.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/thegioitolkien/images/5/5f/Lembas_2.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140403061318
Legolas explaining lembas to the fellowship. (source)


To be exact, lembas isn't really Legolas' signature dish, but was rather provided to the Fellowship by the Lady Galadriel and the Elves of Lothlorien. But in the movie adaptation Legolas is the one explaining lembas to his friends, and it sounded catchier than "Elvish Lembas" or "Galadriel's Lembas", so... yeah, I don't have any real excuses for this ;-)

My lembas waybread is nice and buttery, like a soft biscuit or shortbread cookie, just a little bit sweet, and slightly salty and aromatic, with a lovely hint of rosemary. I doubt that one bite will satisfy me or my fianc√© for an entire day as the Elves claimed, but it’ll certainly satisfy your cravings for a snack!




LEGOLAS' VEGAN LEMBAS

Preparation time: 60 mins
Main ingredients: spelt flour, almond milk, advocaat / eggnog
difficulty level: easy
makes: 10 lembas cakes
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, soy-free

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (220 g) light wheat or spelt flour (type 630)
1/4 cup (30 g) oat flour
1/4 cup (25 g) almond meal (or swap for another nut flour such as hazelnut, chestnut, or acorn)

1/2 (55 g) cup raw cane sugar (or swap for 1/4 cup honey or golden syrup)
1 cup (200 g) vegan butter or margarine
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tsp of dried rosemary, finely chopped (or swap for dried thyme)

 
also
large collard leaves and twine (for wrapping the lembas)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180 °C / 350 °F.

In a mixing bowl, beat together vegan butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the remaining ingredients, and whisk, using an electric whisk with a dough hook.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and roll out about 1/2 inch thick. Add more flour if required.

Slice the dough into squares (about 3 inches) and transfer to a parchment lined baking tray. You can keep the lembas fairly close together since these are not going to spread.

Lightly score each square from corner to corner with a butter knife to look like an X (make sure not to cut all the way through the dough).

Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until the corners start to turn a light golden colour.

Let cool completely on a wire rack (it will still be soft when it's out of the oven) before storing in an airtight container. To make it extra cute, use some collard leaves (or banana leaves) to wrap your little breads in like the Elvish Mallorn leaves. Secure with twine.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

There you have your lembas to sustain you on your journey through Middle Earth – or on your next hiking trip through the mountains! Now grab your packs, we've got a Ring to destroy!



NOTE:

- If you prefer a more firm lembas, only use 1/2 cup of vegan butter and swap almond meal for regular flour. You could also add more flour in general,  up to 2 cups in total. In this case you may need to add some non-dairy milk such as almond milk or even coconut milk (or use honey/syrup instead of sugar) if the dough is too dry.


Looking for more nerdy recipes? Check out some of my other literature-inspired creations:


Maisy



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