Italian Influence in the Innsbruck MS

Two recipes that show their origin:

green tart – a regular favourite for all feasts

146 If you would prepare a tart (durden), take chard and salt and parsley and cut it up small all together. Wash it in fresh water, grate cheese into it, and add fat and eggs. Then prepare sheets of dough and put it into there, and bake (pach ?) it in a pan and put egg yolk on top and let it bake well etc.

147 If you would prepare ravioli (rabel), also prepare them in this manner and wrap it in sheets like krapffen, and boil it very well in a pan. And when you take them out, put grated cheese on them and also fat and salt etc.

The first such recipe is not unusual in any way. Such green tarts were commonplace in the Italian tradition and beyond it. The word itself, durte(n) or torte(n), derives from torta, a fine baked good whose origin is hard to pin down. All of this was very likely well familiar in Germany by the mid-fifteenth century. The reference to baking (or frying – the word bach is ambiguous) in a pan may refer to the eponymous tortenpfanne, one of the central implements of the Renaissance kitchen. This pan was shaped to hold one pie or tart and could be placed in the embers with a lid designed to hold hot coals for heat from the top and bottom.

The second recipe is even more interesting. We begin with the same filling – chard, cheese, fat, and eggs – and wrap it in sheets, here clearly meaning sheets of dough, the way that krapfen fritters are made. They are then boiled, not fried, and served with grated cheese. Such recipes show up regularly in later sources where they are usually known as ‘boiled krapfen‘, but here, they are called rabel. That is not a familiar German word, but it is easy to see the derivation from ravioli. Again, this type of recipe would be entirely unexceptional in any Italian recipe collection.

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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