Herb Krapfen – Maultaschen ancestry

Today’s recipe from Philippine Welser is another ancestor of Maultaschen:

122 If you want to make herb krapfen (kreytter krepfla)

Take one leaf of sage, 8 twigs (steydlin) of marjoram, a handful of parsley, 3 leaves of lemon balm, 12 leaves of bugloss, 10 endive leaves, a little chervil (? kera krautt), 10 borage leaves, and about four times as much of chard as of all other herbs. Chop it small, put it into (hot) fat and stir it around. Then pour it into a bowl and break 4 eggs into it. Take a handful of grated cheese that is new and a little grated bread and stir it together thoroughly. Let it stand for a while so it becomes thick, then you can wrap it in dough. You prepare the dough like you do for tarts. You must roll it out thin and then wrap the herbs in it. Boil them in a little broth that is very good, or in meat broth, as much as you serve on one table.

This is not the first recipe for Maultaschen, and of course it does not use the name either. That does not show up until later. It is interesting mainly because of the very precise quantities of herbs given. Beyond that, the filling of eggs and fresh cheese bound with breadcrumbs is not unusual. The instruction to use the same dough as for tarts is odd since the ‘short’ crust the recipe collection describes elsewhere seems poorly suited for boiling. Perhaps this refers to the egg-flour paste used when the tarts are cooked in fat in a pan. This would work well for pasta.

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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