Another Pumpkin Tart

Philippine Welser’s recipe collection also has a pumpkin tart:

Curcubita pumpkins c. 1508, courtesy of wikimedia commons

43 If you want to make pumpkin tart

Take pumpkin and let it boil long (jber syedenn) and chop it small. Take grated bread and cheese and put it in. Add saffron, pepper, cinnamon and mace to it and also break 6 eggs into it and add a little fat. Put it on the tart base and let it bake nicely.

This is another pumpkin pie/tart recipe from pre-1600 Germany, and it looks quite attractive. Combining boiled pumpkin or gourd with cheese, egg, and spices should produce something unexpected to modern diners, but potentially delicious. Note that around 1550, we cannot say for sure whether Eurasian lagenaria gourds or American curcubita pumpkins would have been used. The American cultivars quickly overtook the original, less palatable ‘pumpkin’, but the process was not complete this early. It is entirely possible that the distinction did not matter to the recipe’s writer. I intend to try it with one of the more aromatic curcubita versions for sale this autumn.

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Your email address will not be published.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 *