Veal Pastry

There was an accident on the line so trains were late. Time only for a short recipe (actually two), again from Philippine Welser’s collection:

69 A pastry made of veal

Take veal, parboil it well and chop it. Take half as much kidney fat of an ox or more than half and also chop that with it. Salt it, and when it is chopped, put it into a bowl and add ginger, cinnamon, pepper, raisins, sugar, and a good sweet wine. Stir it well together so it becomes as thin as a muß. You can also add the yolks of hard-boiled eggs into it whole, as many as you like. Then put it into the pastry crust and let it bake for one and a half hours, thus it is proper. When it is almost baked, you can put in broth with verjuice, and also put in saffron.

70 Further, a pastry of veal

Take meat for dumplings (knepfel flesch) and boil it well and then take half as much or more kidney fat from an ox and chop it together with salt. When it is chopped, prepare a round pastry case. Take a lot of raisins and ginger and put that into the chopped (meat) and stir it together. Boil hard as many eggs as you want or according to how large the pastry is. Put the filling into the pastry case and lay in the eggs, just the yolks, into it whole. Also add a little saffron, or (do it) in the end when you put in the verjuice, that is better. Close it with a top crust and let it bake properly. When it is half baked, take verjuice and soup broth and a little saffron and stir it together. Make a hole at the top (of the crust) and put in the broth with a funnel. Let it bake fully, about 2 hours altogether.

As seems to happen quite a bit, these two recipes are so similar it is hard to see the point of writing down both. Aside from wine and a different spice mixture, the flavour and consistency aimed for seems close to identical in both. They are also unadventurous; tender, light meat, plenty of fat, rich spices, and a touch of sourness from verjuice added to prevent it from drying out. Of course, much depends on proportions here, but i could see this working for a modern palate as long as they appreciate sweet blandness. One interesting point is that hard-boiled egg yolks are put into the filling whole. No doubt they were visually interesting once the finished pastry was sliced. Whole hard-boiled eggs are still put into traditional German Hackbraten, meat loaf, today.

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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