Bag Pudding Fritters

Two brief recipes from Philippine Welser’s collection, and I beg your forgbearance with all the gaps. I have once again been distracted by a fascinating source and had to finish a manuscript. Sadly, it does not look like my time will be more plentiful, and since another book badly needs finishing, I cannot promise the posts will become more frequent in the near future.

110 If you want to make a pounded (gestosenn) fritter

Take 8 eggs, 8 spoons full of milk, 4 spoons full of water and make it like a streybla (Strauben) batter. Put it into a cloth, grease the cloth with fat (beforehand) and hang it in a pan with water. Let it boil until it turns nicely thick. Then turn it over (out of the cloth) and cut it into long slices two fingers wide. Lay them in fat and let them fry slowly, and keep the dough warm in warm water.

112 If you want to fry bag fritters (sack kiechla)

Take as much water as there is eggs and make the batter thinner than streybla (Strauben) batter. Put it into a small bag and lay that into a pot so it boils. After it has boiled a good half and a quarter of an hour, open the bag and push your finger into the batter. If it is boiled to the point you can insert a finger, cut it apart in the middle like you cut a semel loaf. Lay it into cool fat and stir the pan well, that way it rises (kleubts auf). Fry it gently. Make the bag narrow at the bottom and wide at the top, that way you get it out in one piece and can cut it properly.

There is very little difference between these two recipes, which once again raises the question why they were recorded separately. A fairly thin, egg-based batter is first boiled in a greased bag (I assume that you would grease the cloth in both cases because it is really the practical thing to do). Once it has firmed up, you take it out, slice it, and fry it at a gentle heat. Since the original batter included no added fat, and milk only in recipe #110, it would likely take well to deep-frying. Given the proximity in time and geography, it should not be surprising that the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch has a parallel recipe, though it is less detailed.

Both recipes have some interesting aspects. The first uses spoons as as measure, likely a common practice though we would love to know what size they were thinking of. The second instructs us to cut the cooked batter apart in the middle like a semel loaf. It is at least possible that people already routinely cut their semel rolls – roughly the size of today’s breadrolls – as we do our Semmel. Since, as far as we know, they did not put jams, cheese, or cold cuts on them it is hard to see why, but the suggestion is there. Of course, neither of this is central to the instructions here. The proportion of egg to water or water-milk mixture abnd, more importantly, of flour to liquid is likely the deciding factor in how these fritters turn out, and I find it hard to predict. Neither am I sure I want to try it, though I may if given the opportunity.

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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