Cream Tart

Another short recipe after a long day, but holy sh*t this is decadent. I need to try it.

21 If you want (to make) a cream tart

Take as much cream as you need and break open six eggs. Take (reserve) the whites of two eggs and beat the rest together and pour it into the cream. Also beat that well and put a little fat into a pan and let it heat. Move it about in the pan, then take the abovementioned egg white, beat it well, and pour it into the hot fat. Move it about as well so it will for a fine tart base (bedalin). Then pour the cream and the eggs on the tart base, put embers above and below, and let it bake nicely.

I am trying to imagine what this would look and taste like; a white, soft skin surrounding the base of a golden yellow, creamy, fluffy filling, impossibly rich and probably quite subtle in the company of more heavily seasoned and sweetened dishes. The skill involved in getting it right must have made this quite a flex to serve.

The idea of using a sheet of fried egg as a container for a filling is not novel, of course, and even making a tart base out of it is described in several recipes, including one that actually comes from the same family:

To make an Italian tart

Take twelve pears and roast them quickly over a lively fire, until the peel is charred and the rest becomes soft, afterwards put them through a strainer and put sugar, cinnamon and twelve eggs therein. Make a thin batter with eggs and pour it into a hot tart pan and let it bake until it becomes hard and pour the mixture onto it and let it bake.

This is from the recipe collection of Sabina Welser in the translation by Valoise Armstrong. Clearly it is not the same thing, but a similar bit of culinary trickery. I would probably enjoy this more, but I really long to try the cream version, if only to see in how many ways it can go wrong.

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).

This entry was posted in Uncategorised and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *