Eel Pastry

Two more recipes from the Philippine Welser collection, and we are finally out of the fruit with sugar and cinnamon section:

Fishing; Image from the Tacuinum Sanitatis Casanatense courtesy of wikimedia commons

77 To make an eel pastry

Take an eel and remove its skin. Make nice pieces out of it and remove the innards carefully (eders wol). Lay it in as bowl and salt and spice it, and swirl it all together. Then put it into as prepared pastry crust and put a piece of sweet butter between them (the pieces). Then close it and brush it with egg, that is proper, and bake it.

78 To make an eel pastry

Take the eel and remove its skin and take out the innards (eder jn schen). Then cut it into pieces and stick it with cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, and sage. Roast (uber brott) it a little and then season the pieces nicely with all kinds of spices. Prepare a good sauce (brielin) with spices and butter, and you can also add green herbs and sugar, if you want to have it sweet, and sweet wine. Put this into a pastry crust, close it, and let it bake slowly.

This is an interesting set of recipes, simple, but potentially good. Eels were a popular and relatively plentiful fish, though all fresh fish was a luxury. Putting it in a pastry crust with spices and butter or, in the second case, wine and sugar is a fairly conventional thing to do. I think I would prefer to combine the cloves and rosemary of the second recipe with the butter of the first, though.

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Your email address will not be published.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 *