Ox Tongue Pastry

A very spicy pastry, and the last such recipe in Philippine Welser’s collection. We are finally going to move on into fritters.

89 To make an ox tongue pastry

Take the tongue and boil it so it becomes nicely tender (fein marb). Then cut it thinly and make pieces of it. Stick each piece with 2 cloves. Spices: ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Cut them very small and take salt and mix them together. Put it into the pastry crust and make it tall. Always lay one piece on another, and let there be spices inbetween. Take ox fat and chop it small and put it in. Let it bake for an hour. When it has baked for an hour, take half a semel loaf and toast it so it turns brown. Put this into red wine with sugar and ginger and nutmeg added. Let it boil up and try it to see if it is good. Pour it into this pastry and then let it bake fully.

The tongue was a prized piece of meat and though we do not have many recipes, those we have are often elaborate and expensive. This one certainly is: Cooked tongue sliced, stuck with an enormous amount of cloves, then spiced, baked in a pastry, and finally covered in a rich, sweet sauce. I am not sure I would actually enjoy this, but I can see why it was popular.

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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