I haven’t had a lot of time lately, but here are some almond tarts:
6 If you want to make a good almond tart
Take half a pound of almonds and grind them as small as possible. Take half a pound of sugar and six newly laid eggs with it, but only the whites of the eggs, and a little good rosewater. Mix it all together and (take) a thin tart base with a wreath (as the edge) and pour the abovementioned on it. Brush it with rosewater as lightly as you can (auff wennigest). Sprinkle it all over with sugar and blow it off again, then sprinkle on sugar again and blow it off again and then sprinkle sugar on it and blow it off again. Do this four times and then let it bake nicely slowly. It will be pretty and good.
7 Of tarts: If you want to make an almond tart
Firstly, put one pound of almonds on the table and pound them well or grind them, and when they are about to become oily, pour on rosewater. When they are ground, put them into a bowl and take the whites of five eggs and some cream and rosewater. Add this to the ground almonds until it turns thin so that it flows, but not too thin. Put this on a tart base and let it bake nicely in a tart pan. When it has set well (wol erstarcht ist), take the yolk of an egg and rosewater, beat it well, brush the tart all over, on top and on the sides, and let it bake completely.
8 If you want to make a quite good almond tart
Take a pound of almonds on the table and grind it with rosewater so that they are very small. Take it out into a bowl and take the whites of eight newly laid eggs. Beat it so it becomes like water and strain it, and add an eighth (achtelin) of cream and beat that into the egg whites. Then stir in the almonds and add enough sugar so that it is quite sweet, otherwise it is not good. When it is half baked, sprinkle it with rosewater and then let it bake fully. It must be baked quite gently and with few embers above, otherwise it will be brown.
9 If you want to make a tart of almonds
Take the almonds and grind them small. Take the yolks of eggs and a little grated bread, sugar, and rosewater, stir it together and pour it on a tart base. Bake it quickly so it does not burn and put in very little sugar beforehand. When the tart hardens (erstarckt), add a bit of butter on it every now and then. When it has risen up, sprinkle it well with sugar and let it bake fully.
10 If you want to make a tart of almonds
Grind the almonds small with rosewater and add cinnamon. Take the whites of three eggs and rosewater and grind it well together. Spread it on a tart base and bake it nicely gently (fein lieb). When it is half baked, sprinkle it well with sugar and with rosewater. You can also make fritters (krepfla) with this filling and fry them in fat.
11 If you want to make a good almond tart
Take a good pot (gaffenn) full of almonds and grind them small. When it is ground small, add a few raisins and currants (weynber unnd zy wybenn) into it. Then spread it on a tart base, take the yolk of an egg and brush the tart with it. When it is half baked, sprinkle it well with sugar and with rosewater. Then let it bake enough. The filling (fillin) should be two fingers thick.
One thing that makes the recipe collection of Philippine Welser interesting is that it often includes variations on a theme. These recipes are all for slightly different almond tarts, and it is possible they were actually gathered from different sources. There is nothing surprising or novel about them. Tarts, baked in a closed container in the coals (the Tortenpfanne or tart pan) were popular, and almonds represented luxury and refinement. It is, however, unusual to find such variation in so early a source.
Philippine Welser (1527-1580), a member of the prominent and extremely wealthy Welser banking family of Augsburg, was a famous beauty of her day. Scandalously, she secretly married Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg in 1557 and followed him first to Bohemia, then to Tyrol. A number of manuscripts are associated with her, most famously a collection of medicinal recipes and one of mainly culinary ones. The recipe collection, addressed as her Kochbuch in German, was most likely produced around 1550 when she was a young woman in Augsburg. It may have been made at the request of her mother and was written by an experienced scribe. Some later additions, though, are in Philippine Welser’s own hand, suggesting she used it.
The manuscript is currently held in the library of Ambras Castle near Innsbruck as PA 1473 and was edited by Gerold Hayer as Das Kochbuch der Philippine Welser (Innsbruck 1983).