Experiment: Wafer Fritters

Another recipe I experimented with Saturday, this one is from the Kuchenmaistrey of c. 1490:

1. lvi. Item fritters of wafers (oblaten) make thus: Take figs and raisins, boil them, and chop them small. Season it with spices and saffron, add salt, and temper it well. Take one wafer and spread (zen{[e]r}g) the figs on it and set another wafer on it. Dredge this through a batter of white flour and fry them nicely.

Oblaten, thin wafers, were probably more substantial then than they are now, but we still use them in German cuisine. They mainly serve as a base for lebkuchen and macaroons and look a bit like edible paper. I used storebought this time and they worked nicely. The filling was dried figs and raisins parboiled in water and pureed. I added actual saffron, but I do not think it did anything. The other spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, with a pinch of salt – dominated completely. Dipped in a batter of egg and flour and quickly fried in oil, they turned out lovely once they had cooled down a bit.

Interestingly, though the practice is quite uncommon these days, it survived as an idea well into the modern era. Katharina Prato’s very influential Süddeutsche Küche (quoting from the 50th edition, Vienna 1912) describes a very similar preparation:

Oblaten-Krapferl (wafer fritters). With wine batter. Cut wafers into rounds, brush them with egg, fill each two and two with cherry flesh, dip them in wine batter, fry them in fat and strew them with sugar.

With choux paste: You place small heaps of firm rosehip sauce (Hagebuttensalse) on wafers cut square, cover them with wafers cut to the same shape, and only press them together slightly in the middle so that a space remains between the wafers where there is no sauce. Dip the four corners of the wafers into choux paste thinned with eggs to fill the interstices and fry them in fat. The sauce should shine red through the yellowish cooked wafer, the edges be light brown.

This is interesting and really sounds very attractive. I may want to try it out at some point. It also suggests that the various wafer fritters in the medieval and early modern corpus may well hide something more technically and visually sophisticated than what I produced.

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