Apple and Pear Purees from the Innsbruck MS

A brief recipe today, it’s been a long day:

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13 If you would make a roasted (gepratenes) apple puree, brown (pren…ab) the apples in fat and chop them, spice them, add honey, and then prepare it in a pan so that it turns out thick. Do not salt it etc.

14 If you would make a puree of pears, roast the pears in the embers so they turn black, then place them in cold water and remove their peels. Then boil them and pass them through with toasted bread and mix in wine and honey, and boil it in hot fat, spice it well and do not salt it.

These are fruit purees, but differ a bit in their preparation from the previous recipes. Notably, apples and pears are prepared with a focus on high temperatures and the addition of fat, both of which would facilitate Maillard reactions and produce the associated flavours. The result is likely to be quite different from the applesauce or apple butter we are familiar with today, though probably not bad.

The Innsbrucker Rezeptbuch is a manuscript recipe collection from a South German/Austrian context. It dates to the mid-fifteenth century and survives as part of a set of medical and culinary texts bound together. The editor Doris Aichholzer published it together with two related manuscripts and drew attention to the less elaborate, more practical recipes. The manuscript is of unknown provenance, but has been owned by the Habsburg emperors since at least the early sixteenth century. It is now held at the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. An edition, German translation and commentary can be found in Doris Aichholzer: Wildu machen ayn guet essen… Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher, Peter Lang Verlag Berne et al. 1999

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