Galantine (Jelly) Recipes from de Rontzier

The Kunstbuch includes a long list of ‘cool jellies’ with instructions for making them.

Of white, red and yellow cool jellies

1 You put into a new pot wine, water, two and a half times as much wine as water, and Bestand (isinglass). If you do not wish to have isinglass in it, you shall also leave out the water and cook calves’ feet and use the same broth in place of water and isinglass. Boil cut-up cinnamon in wine and pass (strain) it through a haircloth into the jelly broth (Gallertbrueh), season it with sugar, and put in it two or three pewter bowls. But also put some of the jelly broth (Gallertbrueh) in small serving bowls (Commentlein). When the jelly sets (bestehet), you sit (work?) with the small bowls and drip it (their content) onto the other jelly with a feather so the drops do not run together.

2 Item in summer you boil lamb’s or sheep’s feet in wine and the third part water. Then you boil whole cinnamon and mace in wine and pass it through a haircloth over the feet. You also well add rosewater and sugar, pour it into a silver (dish), set red jelly into a small bowl (Commentlein) by the fire and drip it on this jelly.

3 Item you boil dates, anise and cinnamon in wine, pass it through a haircloth, prepare it with sugar and isinglass (Bestande) or calves’ feet, pour it into a silver (dish) and let it get cold etc.

4 Item you pound figs and unsugared coriander in a mortar and then boil it in wine and a third part water with mace, and pass it through a haircloth. Add sugar and isinglass and set it on the fire, but so it does not boil up. Wash small raisins in water, set them on the fire with rosewater and sugar, and then arrange these raisins along the edge (of the bowl) around this jelly.

5 Item you peel sweet Seville oranges (suesse Pomerantzen – probably the less bitter kind, not actual sweet oranges) and cook them in water, isinglass, and wine with mace and sugar. Pass it through a haircloth so that it chills in a silver (dish). Then take a little in a small dish (Commentlein), mix it with saffron, and drip it on the other jelly with a feather. Lay candied orange peel around the edge.

6 You pound almonds small and pass them through a haircloth with water and wine that cinnamon has been boiled in. Prepare it with isinglass and sugar and also with rosewater, if you wish to have that with it. Drip it with yellow or red jelly.

7 You boil plums (Schwetzken), pour off the broth, pass it through a haircloth, season it with pounded cinnamon, ginger, sugar, and isinglass, and when it sets, drip it with white jelly. This jelly is good for the sick because it is good and laxative (laxiert).

8 Item you boil plums in water and wine, pass them through a haircloth, prepare them with mace, sugar, lavender or rose water,. And isinglass, decorate (belegt) it with small preserved (eingemacht – probably cooked and sugared) muscatel pears and drip it with white or yellow jelly.

9 You pass through currants (S. Johansbirn) or the mus of them through a haircloth with wine and water and prepare it with rosewater, sugar, and isinglass or calves’ foot broth. When it sets, drip it with the same broth.

10 Item you boil mace, whole cinnamon, and coriander or anise in wine etc.

11 Item you prepare a jelly of cherry mus and wine. Add water when it is thick (starck) and add sugar cinnamon, and isinglass that was passed through a cloth (durchgeschlagen) so that it becomes quite sweet with the sugar. Afterwards, drip it with the same broth.

12 Item you boil cardamom, sugar, and isinglass in cherry mus, let it run through a haircloth and drip it with the same broth.

13 Item you boil wine, water, mace, sugar, isinglass, and saffron together, pass it through a haircloth and drip it with red jelly.

14 Item you boil cinnamon, saffron and isinglass, pass it through a haircloth, season it with sugar and washed small raisins and drip it with pale (bleichem) jelly.

15 Item you roast quinces in the ashes, let them cool, pass them through a haircloth with wine and water, and prepare them with whole mace, sugar, and isinglass.

16 Item you cut up green fennel, pound it, and pass it through a haircloth with wine and water. Melt isinglass, add sugar and rosewater, and stir it together with the green juice. Then take it off the fire immediately (stracks), pour it into a silver (dish), and drip it with red jelly.

17 Item you boil nutmeg, sugar, small raisins, isinglass, and almonds cut small in red wine. Let it cool and stick it with almonds.

18 Item boil red wine, nutmeg, sugar, a little ginger, cardamom, isinglass, and lavender water together and drip bit with red, white, or green jelly.

19 Item you melt isinglass, pass it through a haircloth, and prepare it with mulberry juice (Maulbirnsafft), sugar, and rosewater. Drip it with red jelly.

These are clearly sweet jellies the way we would understand the concept. The description as ‘cool’ (kuehl) most likely refers to their humoral effect, cooling and soothing in the heat. The way they are presented is mostly fairly basic, set in serving bowls, though we will see a more elaborate recipe later. I find the idea of decorating the surface of the set jelly with drops in a contrasting colour interesting, but find it hard to imagine what it would actually look like. Clearly, it was a complex operation. The cook was expected to keep small bowls of varicoloured jellies on hand to melt as needed to decorate others. It may be worth trying come summer.

Franz de Rontzier, head cook to the bishop of Halberstadt and duke of Braunschweig, published his encyclopaedic Kunstbuch von mancherley Essen in 1598. He clearly looks to Marx Rumpolt’s New Kochbuch as the new gold standard, but fails to match it in engaging style or depth. He is thus overshadowed by the twin peaks of Marx Rumpolt and Anna Wecker. What makes his work interesting is the way in which he systematically lists versions of a class of dishes, illustrating the breadth or a court cook’s repertoire. He is also more modernly fashionable than Rumpolt. Looking to France rather than Italy and Spain for inspiration, and some of the dishes he first describes may be genuine innovations.

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