Variations on a fritter from the Kuchenmaistrey

These are so tempting… playing with food.

3. xxii. Item in another way that is called flappy fritters (lappenküchlein) without parsley and wine. Make a stiff dough with eggs and wine, the third part is milk. Draw it out on a board and roll it out with a rolling pin, (made) of white flour, not too thin or too thick, long and narrow. Make flat sheets (lappen) of it nicely twisted on the tips or shaped in front like oak leaves or linden leaves, what shapes you wish. If you want them brown, fry them well, and if you want them yellow, make the dough with saffron mixed in wine, or with milk green with parsley juice or whatever (else) colours things green, (or) blue from cornflowers. These flappy fritters (leppischen kuchlein) are good to eat with all kinds of sauces as a roast course.

3. xxiii. From the same dough, you can also make small flat cakes (fledlein) boiled up (? auff gewollen) with bread. Into those, you put the filling as for filled eggs and filled crawfish, Cover it with another fledlein nicely attached with beaten raw egg and brushed all around the edges. Let them dry and fry them in proper measure.

Item with the same dough you may prepare apples and krapfen or (rather?) filled krapfen of roast apples or pears or of calves’ brains or chopped meat fillings (gehecken) of small forest birds seasoned with spices and a little salt.

3. xxiiii. Item of the same dough dyed with the strained colouring agents (abgesatzt mit der seit farb) you may make pretzels (pretzen) the size of a hand, or slightly smaller or larger, fry them, and brush them slightly with honey with a feather. Serve them dry (i.e. without sauce) for a roast dish (i.e. as a main dish). From the same flappy dough you may also make raised small cakes (erhabne küchlein). An old cheese is grated into it or (the dough is) leavened with beer yeast or mead yeast (mit byer hefen erhaben odr mit met hefen). These cakes should be served hot in a good cheese soup (keßbrü) or the same cakes served hot and dry (i.e. without sauce). They are also eaten from sauces (i.e. served in a sauce).

A series of recipes based on the same basic dough – eggs, wine, milk, flour – with variations. They contain several very interesting pouints including the colour fritters are expected to be (not normally deep brown), the way sweet and savoury are not thought of as contrasts (honey-glazed hard pretzels as a main course) and how much fun people could have in a wealthy kitchen (green leaves).

3.xxiii is a bit of a disappointment to me. Of course I want to read fledlein as flädle, the delicious strings of pancake served in German soups, and imagine nests of dough strings interwoven and fried to crunchy deliciousness. Unfortunately, nothing in any of my dictionaries suggests the word means anything other than small fladen, so we are talking about fried ravioli, basically. The interpretation of gewollen is still up in the air. I suppose it may have to do with the popular parboiled breads (you can parboil fritters as well), though I initially read it as ‘wound up’ as a skein of string. I am speculating here. Any suggestions are welcome.

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 (mastery of the kitchen) was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The book 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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