“Schnabel” fritters from the Kuchenmaistrey

Back to the Kuchenmaistrey – apple fritters.

3. ix. Item a foreign fritter that is called schnabel (beak). Take white bread and cut off the crust. Make thin slices of it. Lay these on a board and cut the crust as though for plates. Take apples and cut them into half quarters and roast/fry (rost) them. Then chop them small and salt and spice them. Your spices shall be what you have, pepper or ginger, and mix some saffron in with it. Chop it together and stir well beaten eggs into it. Knead it together. Once you have prepared the filling, spread it on the slices and cover one with the other so that the bottom slice reaches very close to the top one. Attach them with egg white so that they stay together and fry them well.

And whoever wishes to have the same schnabel in many colours should soak the bread in a green juice beforehand, or also a red or blue one, as is taught above. But (if) you have them without colour, you can serve them in wine soup or in pepper sauce or in galantine (galradt) or liver sauce (lebersultzen) or in cheese sauce (keß bru), as you wish.

The word used for ‘foreign’ can also mean something more like odd, but here likely means that this dish comes from elsewhere. It is hard to say where, and the designation as ‘schnabel‘ (literally a beak) is solidly in the German tradition of choosing odd names for fashionable dishes. The food itself looks like nothing special, though it probably would taste rather nice on a cold autumn evening.

I will continue posting recipes from the Nuremberg Kuchenmaistrey produced around 1490, but my mode will change. Instead of translating one daily and posting it here, I will try to use what time there is to translate as much as I can and post only some of them here. Once the entire text is done, I will try to get it published either as a book, or online.

The Kuchenmaistrey was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The Kuchenmaistrey (mastery of the kitchen) gave rise to a vibrant culture of amended and expanded manuscript copies as well as reprints spanning almost a century. The recipes seem designed to appeal to a wealthy, literate and cosmopolitan clientele.

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