Gilded fritters from the Kuchenmaistrey

More decadence

3. xi. If you would make brown patties well fried that look as though they are gilded. You shall take beaten gold ground well on a stone with water like gold colour or painters’ colour. If you can have distilled liquor (bebranten wein) it would be better ground with that so that it becomes thick and shiny. Then take the yolk of a raw egg, lay it in that (the colour) and grind it. Otherwise make patties (küchlein) with sugar or with rose or violets or nutmeg (zuckerat odr rosat veyolat odr muscat) courtly and small as the digit of a thumb. Dip your hands in water, roll them between the hands and make them round. Take a piece of a peacock feather and skilfully brush the patties with the gold colour all around. Thrust a knife or wooden skewer into them so that you may brush the patties all around. Lay them out on a nice (clean) board one alongside the other, as many as you wish to have, and fry them in much fat so that they float in it, one after the other. Or otherwise see to it that they do not touch each other. And take them out with a spoon with holes so that they drain well. That way they stay pretty. Serve them as a roast course, dry (i.e. without sauce).

I have no idea whether this works, but it sounds fascinating. The description of the fritters as zuckerat odr rosat veyolat odr muscat is also interesting. The change in diction suggests that these are technical terms, perhaps borrowed from the business of apothecaries. That may be where the entire recipe comes from.

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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