I’m travelling again and just learned about sweet cabbage pies, but for today, all I have is three fillings for krapfen from the Mondseer Kochbuch:
53 To prepare good fritters (krapfen) when you fast
Take nuts and pound them in a mortar, and take as many apples and cut them into cubes. Mix them well with spices, whichever kind they be, and fill them into the fritters (krapfen). Lay them into the pan and let them fry.
54 Fritters (krapphen) of nuts
Take entire kernels of nuts and cut as many apples into that in cubes, Fry (röst) them well with a little honey and mix it with spices. Place it on the (dough) sheets (pleter) that are prepared for the fritters and let them fry, and do not oversalt it.
55 Fritters (Krapfen) with Italian raisins (wehlischen weinpern)
Take Italian raisins and take as many apples with them and pound them small. Add spices and fill it into the fritters and let them fry, and do not oversalt them.
Again, there is a parallel in the Buoch von guoter Spise (#59-61), but the recipes differ in their order:
59 A krapfen
If you wish to prepare a Lenten krapfen, take nuts and pound them in a mortar. Take as many apples and cut them into cubes. Mix them with spices of whatever kind they be, and fill them into the krapfen, and let it fry. That is a good filling. Do not oversalt it.
60 Of krapfen
If you wish to prepare a Lenten krapfen, take Italian raisins and as many apples with it. Pound them small and add spices, and fill it into the krapfen. Let it fry. That is a good filling, and do not oversalt it.
61 A krapfen
If you wish to prepare a Lenten krapfen with nuts with entire kernels, mix as many apples with them and cut them in cubes as (large as?) the kernels are. Fry them well with a little honey and mix them with spices. Put this on the (dough) sheets that were prepared for krapfen and let them fry. Do not oversalt it.
The raisins have swapped places with the nuts, and some details were lost somewhere in the transmission chain, but these are effectively the same three fritters. We do not know exactly how krapfen were prepared at the time, but the reference to sheets suggests a hard, pliable dough that may not have been leavened much. Today, the word tends to refer to soft, sweet yeast doughs with a small amount of filling. These were likely rather different, more like fried ravioli.
The recipes are, incidentally, not really a good fit for the pre-Easter Lenten period. While some apples can last until then, but they do not feature much in springtime recipes. Both apples and nuts are more typical of autumn and early winter, which would make them plausible candidates for the Advent fast which is no longer much observed, but was obligatory in medieval Germany. I have only tried one of these combination – the combination of raisins and apples – and found that it really helps if the apples are not too juicy. Storing them into winter would have made them a better fit here.
The Mondseer Kochbuch is a recipe collection bound with a set of manuscript texts on grammar, dietetics, wine, and theology. There is a note inside that part of the book was completed in 1439 and, in a different place, that it was gifted to the abbot of the monastery at Mondsee (Austria). It is not certain whether the manuscript already included the recipes at that point, but it is likely. The entire codex was bound in leather in the second half of the fifteenth century, so at this point the recipe collection must have been part of it. The book was held at the monastery until it passed into the Vienna court library, now the national library of Austria, where it is now Cod 4995.
The collection shows clear parallels with the Buoch von guoter Spise. Many of its recipes are complex and call for expensive ingredients, and some give unusually precise quantities and measurements. It is edited in Doris Aichholzer’s “Wildu machen ayn guet essen…” Drei mittelhochdeutsche Kochbücher: Edition, Übersetzung, Quellenkommentar, Peter Lang, Berne et al. 1999