Meat pastry from the Cologne notes

Hot water shortcrust – and another mystery ingredient.

To make a pastry

First to make the coffin (hauiß), take warm water and butter and 2 eggs and flour. Mix this first with the flour and then gradually add more until it is stiff, and then shape the coffin. Then you shall take a chicken or a duck, and a piece of meat of a sheep or calf or other meat that is lean, cut into little pieces and arranged around the chicken. The take quell vur (?), first boil it, then add mace (beschalen blomen), cloves and saffron and sugar and butter or other good fat, and the spices mixed with vinegar and wine, and then placed on the chicken and set into the oven with a hole made in the lid.

This is an interesting recipe because we do not have many specific ingredient lists for pastry crusts from the 16th century. The combination here suggests a hot water shortcrust, enriched with egg. The filling is quite standard, if we assume that quell vur is a cooking medium. But it appears to be the way with this source – every recipe has one mystery ingredient.

In the late 16th century, someone jotted down a set of cooking recipes in a copy of L. Frucks ‘Teutsch Formular vnnd Rhetoric’ of 1579. They were published in H. Müller: Kochrezepte aus dem 16. Jahrhundert. In: Rheinisch-westfälische Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 14 (1967) 83-86 and are available online thanks to Thomas Gloning‘s inestimable website. Judging by the dialect, the writer is from the greater Cologne area, likely near the border with the Netherlands. The recipes are fairly standard for their time, but interesting in details such as cooking and serving instructions.

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