Fritters from the Tegernsee List

Again a longer hiatus, but here is another interesting part of the Tegernsee list. We cannot reconstruct the dishes here because the majority of ingredients do not seem to have come from managed stores, but the variety of fritters served is interesting, and we have surviving recipes for some of them.

Tegernsee, c. 1560

7 Of fritters (pachen) for 40 persons

For strauben: 35 eggs

For round strauben (ringen streublen): 8/9 each

For wreaths (kräntzen) 1 egg each

effendmt (?) 20 eggs

maulkorb (lit. muzzles) the same

hasenörl (hare’s ears): 1 egg each

Fried sheets: 1 egg each, 40 for the dough/batter, a kand (Kanne?) of wine

Choux fritters (? prannten küechl): 2 eggs each

Milk fritters (milchkuechl): 70 eggs, 1 Maß of milk

Fried apples: 40 eggs, a drink of wine at the time of no eggs

Fried sage: each 1 egg, 1 cup of wine

Filled semel loaves: 30 eggs, 8 semel loaves

Filled wafers: each 1 egg

strupffen: each 2 eggs, a little cream

fried semel: 40 eggs, 9 semel loaves

Golden slices (French toast): the same

Pancakes (pfanzelten): 1 drink of wine

eingezogen küechl: 1 stored cheese, each 2 eggs, raisins

Monks (münchen): each 2 eggs for the filling, spices for the sheets and a handful of raisins, one drink of cream

For the sauce to go with it, 2 handfuls of raisins and spices

Let us look at a few of those fritters: The first type mentioned, strauben, were the most basic type. Some recipes survive, and it seems that they were made from a fairly thick batter that was pulled out between the hands. Most likely they were leavened, probably with yeast, and while some versions are enriched with dairy or raisins, these seem to be a simple water-based kind. The ringen streublen in second position very likely are just rings made from the same batter. The difference between using eggs for serving 40 and counting 8/9 of an egg per person is close enough to fall within the normal variation of egg sizes. I wonder why the distinction was made at all.

The next, kräntzen (wreaths), are not documented elsewhere as far as I know. The dough or batter is a little richer with eggs than the one for strauben, and the description as wreaths suggests that it was firm enough to be molded or braided. Beyond this, I cannot say what it was like. Too many aspects of consistency and the production process are unknown.

The fritter known as effendmt is very likely the same that shows up as äffenmndt served on cooked barley. That suggests a descriptive name, monkey mouths, for a fritter defined by its shape. Today, we have fritters and baked confections such as bear paws (Bärentatzen) or elephant ears (Elefantenohren), and as we see with the hares’ ears (hasenörl) further down, the tradition goes back this far. The maulkorb (in modern German a muzzle for dogs, but also used for a feedbag) using the same amount of egg likely is much the same thing in a different shape. We know that äffendmnt were served over a main dish and thus likely were not sweet. We cannot be sure for maulkorb.

The hasenörl (hares’ ears) listed further down use the same amount of egg as kräntzen, but probably differed in some material way in their preparation. I have yet to find a recipe, but there are references in several sources that use similar dough for different fritters. It is described as firm enough to be rolled out and cut. That suggests that the dough used for kräntzen, while similar, may use a softer, more pliable dough. Whether one or both were leavened is speculative.

The fried sheets involving one egg per person plus a quantity of eggs to be used for a dough or batter suggests a kind of filled fritters. These were not uncommon both as rolled-up pancakes and as rolled-out sheets, and unfortunately the word used for the material (taig) can mean both a liquid batter or a solid dough. The description does nothing to resolve the ambiguity. All we can say is that the filling was based on eggs, likely boiled and mixed with other ingredients. Our best candidate is a similarly named recipe from the Mondseer Kochbuch: Here, a filling of eggs is first rolled in dough sheets and these are dipped in a batter before frying.

The prannten küechl most likely refers to what is known as Brandteig today, a choux paste. The technique is documented well and was used to produce various shapes and sizes of fritters. At two eggs per head, we are likely looking at some sort of filling or just a very rich holiday dish.

The milchkuechl that follow are fritters made from a pliable, but solid dough that is made with milk. The later Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflich Kochbuch has a recipe by that name that describes a version of choux paste where the flour is stired into hot, but not boiling milk, and the proximity to the preceding recipe actually makes that a likely candidate.

The fried apples mentioned next may well be just cored and peeled apples, possibly filled as they often are in other recipes, dipped in batter, and fried in fat. There are numerous surviving recipes for these, and we cannot be sure which type we are looking at and how complex the preparation would be.

Fried sage is interesting because while these may just be fritters seasoned with sage, there are recipes for frying whole sage leaves with a spicy filling between each two, as was more commonly done with wafers. Of course, sage leaves can also just be battered and fried without any additions. However, the quantity of eggs suggests either a filling or a solid amount of dough rather than just dipped leaves.

Filled semel may refer to entire stuffed breadrolls, for which we have a surviving recipe. These would be hollowed out, stuffed, battered and fried. The number of semel suggest dividing one between five diners, which seems paltry, so more likely we are looking at semel loaves sliced thin, with a sticky filling spread between each two, and the whole sandwich battered and fried. That would make them quite similar to the filled wafers listed next, a popular type of fritter that occurs in numerous sources and that I have cooked before. You simply use slices of white bread instead of wafers.

I am not entirely sure what strupffen are, but the large amount of eggs and the extravance of using cream suggests a rich batter or dough that may not have needed any more refinement than this. The name suggests a plucked or ragged appearance.

I would suggest that, again, fried semel and golden slices are largely the same thing, the dishes again being organised thematically. The latter is a common name for what we call French toast in English and Arme Ritter in German today: bread slices soaked and coated in an egg batter and fried. The quantity of eggs sounds roughly right, and the dishes would differ only in that one included the coveted semel loaves while the other used a different kind of bread.

Pfanzelten is a way of saying pancake, and it is interesting that no eggs are specified for these. There were many different pancake recipes and not all of them involved eggs, but with what I think is a relatively small quantity of wine, this seems a particularly meager one. Perhaps these were leavened, with a thick batter, rather than thin and flat.

The eingezogen küechl appear to be a kind of cheese fritter, anyother category of recipe that was quite popular. In the simplest form, you would mix grated cheese, flour, and eggs into a dough and fried it. I do not know what distinguished them from things like krumme krapfen or angestrichenes, but very likely it was some aspect of their preparation, how they were shaped or whether they were thick or thin. I also do not know the exact size of a cheese, so I cannot judge how much this would produce per person, but unless it is a very small one, the quantity seems ample. At two eggs per person, a Handkäse-sized lump seems out of balance.

Finally, the münchen (monks) are not a name I know from anywhere else yet, but the ingredients suggest a filled fritter with a rich sauce. This sounds much like what other sources know as krapfen, basically a thin sheet of dough folded around a filling. There are numerous varieties of these surviving in recipe sources and it is anyone’s guess what made these different from other kinds. Perhaps, like stereotypical monks, they were particularly rotund. The raisins, spices, and separate raisin sauce would certainly have made this a luxurious dish.

So to conclude, a survey of roughly contemporary sources gives us at least plausible reconstructions of most of these dishes. We are still far from putting the full menu of Tegernsee on the table, but this is no longer nearly as baffling as it was.

The recipe collection from the monastery at Tegernsee (Bavaria) is an unusual source. It seems to have been produced to serve very specific practical purposes in the administration of that particular monastery, giving quantities for dishes and instructing the reader on which days what is to be served. A calendar and a short treatise on fishes are written in the same manuscript, the whole produced around 1500 and in use until at least 1534. The text was partially edited by Anton Birlinger in Germania 9/1864 ( pp. 192-207) who regarded it as a resource for linguistic study. I am relying on his edition for this translation.

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