Another Pudding Fritter

Another recipe from Philippine Welser’s collection, very similar to the ‘bag fritters’ I posted earlier. If you ever wondered how old metal pudding basins were – at least this old.

113 A Nuremberg fritter

Item for 8 portions (barschon en) take 10 eggs and break them into a bowl. They must be newly laid. Beat them well and take milk into it, a good two thumbs long (quantity?), (but) less than the eggs. When the eggs are beaten, add flour and make a good, viscous (zechen) batter that is as thick as a streybla (Strauben) batter. Afterwards, put the abovementioned batter into a square tin dish that can be covered well and that keeps out water (das waser heb?). Add three spoons full of sugar and not too much salt, and when you put the batter into the tin, put in fat before and melt it. That way it will not stick. Close the cover (lidt) well so that no water can get in.

Item take a large pan or cauldron with water, set it over the fire and let the container (drichlin) boil in it. Lay a stone on the container so the water covers it, and check often so it does not become too hard. When it is slightly firm, take the stone off the cover and take it out. Then put fat into a pan and let it heat up over the fire, Cut slices from the batter, they should be one finger long and one finger wide. Lay them into the fat and let them fry until the slices open up on top. When they have opened up, you must not shake the pan any more. The fat should not be too hot. If it becomes too hot, take it off the fire. Let it rise up (over the fritters) and then fry it nicely and slowly.

This is interesting. The batter itself is not too different from the one for the bag-boiled fritters – a little richer, given it uses milk only – but the cooking container is fascinating. A square (literally ‘four-cornered’) tin with a lid that closes tightly enough to keep out water and is wide and flat anough to be held submerged by a stone placed on top. I am not sure what associates it with Nuremberg, but it is possible the link is with the fame of Nuremberg’s metalsmiths and craftspeople who would find making such a thing easy.

Another point of interest is the word barschon en. Hayer reads this as persons, but I wonder whether it is not a phonetic rendering of portions, maybe from Italian or French. The word, though common in modern German, was not used at the time, but this could be evidence of an early occurrence.

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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