Goose in Pastry

I have not abandoned my blog, but today is the first day I have some time by myself (the geandmother is on site and has decided the kid needs some proper spoiling) and the laptop up. I have also found some fascinating stuff for when I am back at my desk, but for now it’s just this recipe from Philippine Welser’s collection:

67 If you want to make a goose pastry

Clean the goose completely and scald it well in water. Then take it out and press it down in the middle so it flattens and widens (jn der mit wol yn die breyde). Then take the spice that is described for capon pastry and sprinkle it very well, and then salt it very well. The take lemons, apples, pears, bacon, and caraway and stir it well together. It must be chopped a little, not too much, just the pears and the bacon. Fill the goose with that and arrange around it what is left of the filling. Lard the goose well and lay broad slices of bacon under the feet and the wings. Make a dough as though for venison pastries and wrap the goose in it (so that it is) shaped like a goose. Put it into the tart pan and let it bake.

This is interesting and represents as much of a technical challenge as an interpretatory one. The “spice that is described for capon pastry” is probably this:

Then lay it into a bowl or platter and take the mixed spices as is described after this: 8 lot of ginger, 4 lott of pepper, 4 lot of nutmeg, 4 lott of cloves, 3 lot of cinnamon, pound all of that together and add a third part (dryttel) of salt, that makes eight and a half lott, this is proper with all pastries that are served hot.

I am not sure how well this will work with goose, but it is certainly assertive. And that is just the beginning. Lemons (I assume not many, given their cost), apples, pears, bacon and caraway are added as a filling and arranged around the bird. The combination of apples or pears and bacon was not unknown as a goose filling earlier, incidentally. It is documented in other recipes. Combining it with lemons and such a strong spice mixture, though, seems excessive. In addition, we find bacon added. the last thing a modern goose needs to cook is more fat, but it seems that geese in the sixteenth century had leaner legs. we may be talking about a wild bird, but I doubt it.

The whole thing, wrapped up in pastry dough and baked, should be “shaped like a goose”, presumably a roast one. Also, since it is to be cooked in a tart pan, this implies either a smaller goose than is customary today (the more likely supposition) or a much larger tart pan than I have seen described elsewhere.

I may not try this simply because the failure potential is out of proportion to the cost, but it intrigues me.

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).

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