Infidel Cake from the Mondseer Kochbuch

Today, just a brief recipe. There will be more on the experience of Ribe Viking Centre as I process the photos and sort through my impressions.

5 Of an infidel (haidnischen) cake

You should take a dough (taig) and spread it thin. And take roasted meat and chopped bacon and apples, and add pepper and eggs, and fry (backe) this and do not oversalt it.

This is a promising, but not a spectacularly interesting recipe. Meat, apples, and bacon and eggs as a binder should make viable filling for a pie or pastry, as seems to be suggested here. The recipe again occurs almost verbatim in the Buoch von Guoter Spise (5a). What makes m take note here is that while this tradition agrees that a heidnischer Kuchen is a pastry of apples and meat, practically every other recipe collection in German agrees that it is a crisp fritter of rolled dough. The consistency of the dough is sometimes used as a reference, just as that of strauben batter is in other places. That is, aside from one other recipe that calls green eggs that, though here a misreading is the more likely culprit. It certainly reinforces once again the lesson that when dealing with German recipe sources, we should not trust names.

With a relatively well-appointed kitchen in our rental flat, we decided to give this combination a try today. In the absence of leftover roast, we cooked some ground beef and mixed it with chopped bacon and apple. This was not meant as the most plausible or tastiest interpretation, but as proof of concept and something we could do despite being tired after a long day museuming. For that, it worked. The combination is viable (apple is married to beef or mutton in the Arabic medieval tradition as well). Cooked in a loosely cohesive mass between sheets of storebought tarte dough, it was slightly too dry and not really aromatic enough. I am considering a few possible tweaks to the recipe as a result. Simply increasing the proportion of dough to filling would allow for the spices to dominate more, which might be enough for smaller pastries, especially if they are fried. It may also be a good idea to cook the apples before putting them into the mix, or perhaps use aged or even dried apples for more concentrated aroma. Alternatively, mashing the ingredients in a mortar could produce a more intensely aromatic and cohesive filling. It may also be worth trying out more spices – nutmeg and mace suggest themselves – but the recipe is unusually specific in its brief list.

I liked it, and I think I can make it better.

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