Wheel-cut Fritters

Another short recipe. I am still going through that source I found. Give me a few more days…

Illustration of 16th century pastry wheel from Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera, courtesy of wikimedia commons

109 If you want to make a wheel-cut fritter (redel baches)

Take good flour, put it on a board, pour on egg and warm milk, salt it, and make a dough. See it does not become too stiff. Roll it out well and roll it as thin as you can. Then lay it in two layers (fold it in half) and roll it out again. Cut the dough as you please with a pastry wheel and fry it quickly. Sprinkle with sugar when you wish to serve them.

Another recipe from among the many in Philippine Welser’s collection. In terms of ingredients – eggs, milk, sugar, flour, fat – these fritters come closer to the modern idea of cookies than most. However, the way they are prepared suggests they would come out hard and crunchy rather than crumbly and ‘short’. Folding over the dough during rolling would potentially produce as layering effect that would allow the finished fritters to ‘poof’ and inflate, but that would depend on the proportions of ingredients and how well the dough was worked before going into the pan. Certainly it seems worth playing with.

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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