Deep-fried cherries from the Inntalkochbuch

Another recipe that proved popular for a long time and recurs in many iterations for centuries.

<<55>> Pachen weichsel

Fried tart cherries

Make a batter with 4 eggs in water, season it with spices in hot fat (misplaced here?) and dip the cherries into the batter one after the other and fry them in hot fat.

This recipe very likely contains an error: It repeats the phrase ‘in hot fat’ twice, once I believe misplacing it. I read it as cherries dipped in a batter and then fried. That is in keeping with later descriptions providing more detail on this culinary conceit.

Apparently, the goal was to produce a light, airy batter. Cherries would then be grasped by the stems, submerged separately, and immediately transferred to hot oil where they were fried at a low temperature to ensure the crisp batter coating retained a light colour described as ‘white’. Battering and frying things generally was a commonplace technique in medieval German cooking, but here, visual appeal was key. Served still attached to their stems, fried cherries made showy morsels.

The Inntalkochbuch is from a monastic library in Bavaria’s Inntal region (the Inn is a tributary of the Danube), dating to the late 15th/early 16th century. It is written in Upper German and strongly reflects local culinary traditions, though some of its recipes are commonplaces found elsewhere.

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