Veal Roulade Pastry

Another short recipe from the Philippine Welser collection today, and one that I think I want to try:

73 If you want to prepare a good pastry of hetalin or haters (cutlets)

Cut broad slices from veal and beat them well with the back of a knife. Then take a little veal and fat from the kidneys or another kind of good fat and chop that together. Put it into a bowl when it is chopped and add a soup broth to stir it with so that you can spread it (to a spreadable, but not liquid consistency). Put in raisins and all kinds of spices, spread it on the meat slices, and roll them up tightly. Then prepare a round pastry case and lay them in neatly. Put sugar on top, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and small raisins. Close it and let it bake. You can also put in the yolks of hard-boiled eggs. When it is almost baked, pour in half an achtalin of malfasyer (malmsey wine) or ronfel (Reinfal, Ribolla gialla wine) and let it bake fully.

This is an interesting idea and an artful conceit, making what is effectively veal Rouladen and baking them in a pie crust. It is also strikingly similar in concept and technique, if not in flavour profile, to the Pye of Alowes in the mid-century Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye. Cookery was very international for the upper crust. The hetalin or hater of the title is a word that refers to slices of meat. We also meet it as hattelet, and it is etymologically related to the word cutlet. The wines, again, are top-shelf luxury items: Malvasier, from the area of Monemvasia in Greece, and Reinfal, grown around the Adriatic, were imported at great cost and graced the tables of the very wealthy. I venture to guess this recipe was not often made with the genuine article even if it only calls for an eighth (achtalin) or a Maß which would come to roughly half a cup.

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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