Figs in Jelly

I apologise for the continuing dearth of recipes, but I was kept busy with other projects. Today, I sent off corrections to the proofs of the Kuchenmaistrey to the publisher, so good things are happening. For today, from Meister Hans:

Recipe #10 Sulcz von veygn

Fig harvest, courtesy of wikimedia commons

Galantine of figs

Item as galantine of figs, if you wish to make this, take a pound of figs. Wash them nicely and give them one boiling. Leave the stalks on, and set them in a bowl so that the stalks point upward. When they are boiled, you shall have isinglass and boil this in good wine and take the broth that the figs were boiled in (as well). And take of this as much as you need with the figs. Season it with good spices and saffron, and see that there is not too much of the broth, (just) so that the figs are covered.

This will no doubt make an attractive dish to serve discerning guests. Dried figs (fresh would not have been available in Nuremberg) were softened by boiling, then arranged in a serving bowl and encased in a richly spiced jelly. If you gauge the cooking and the level of the jelly right, it should be possible to pull out individual figs by their stems. I think I want to try it this winter.

One of the most extensive and interesting medieval recipe collections in German is a manuscript dated 1460 and ascribed to one Meister Hans, cook at the Wurttemberg court. It was often treated as a solitary, the work of a single cook, but there are too many parallels with contemporary manuscripts from Southern Germany to make this plausible. The recipes are an eclectic mix, many terse and simple, others detailed and sprinkled with anecdotes. The entire text was newly edited and extensively commented for Tupperware Deutschland by Trude Ehlert: Maister Hansen des von Wirtenberg Koch, Frankfurt (Main) 1996.

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