Lung Tart

I’m still extremely busy, but I could not withhold this gem from you:

22 If you want to prepare a lung tart

Take the lungs and chop them small. Grate bread into it and break eggs into it, and add a little cream, raisins, sugar, and all kinds of spices. Prepare a pastry base (bedalin) below and a cover above and put it into the tart pan. Let it bake and when it is just baked (schyr bachen), put in butter.

Stuck between milk and cream tarts on the one hand and apple tarts on the other, this recipe comes as a surprise to modern sensibilities. I am not sure it would have seemed as strange to contemporaries who, after all, enjoyed all manner of offal. We have numerous recipes for lung used in fritters, pancakes, and sausages. Nonetheless, this recipe stands out for being shorter and less detailed than most others in the collection. It may well have entered the compliation from a different source. I may yet try it, just to see what it actually tastes like.

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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Cream Tart

Another short recipe after a long day, but holy sh*t this is decadent. I need to try it.

21 If you want (to make) a cream tart

Take as much cream as you need and break open six eggs. Take (reserve) the whites of two eggs and beat the rest together and pour it into the cream. Also beat that well and put a little fat into a pan and let it heat. Move it about in the pan, then take the abovementioned egg white, beat it well, and pour it into the hot fat. Move it about as well so it will for a fine tart base (bedalin). Then pour the cream and the eggs on the tart base, put embers above and below, and let it bake nicely.

I am trying to imagine what this would look and taste like; a white, soft skin surrounding the base of a golden yellow, creamy, fluffy filling, impossibly rich and probably quite subtle in the company of more heavily seasoned and sweetened dishes. The skill involved in getting it right must have made this quite a flex to serve.

The idea of using a sheet of fried egg as a container for a filling is not novel, of course, and even making a tart base out of it is described in several recipes, including one that actually comes from the same family:

To make an Italian tart

Take twelve pears and roast them quickly over a lively fire, until the peel is charred and the rest becomes soft, afterwards put them through a strainer and put sugar, cinnamon and twelve eggs therein. Make a thin batter with eggs and pour it into a hot tart pan and let it bake until it becomes hard and pour the mixture onto it and let it bake.

This is from the recipe collection of Sabina Welser in the translation by Valoise Armstrong. Clearly it is not the same thing, but a similar bit of culinary trickery. I would probably enjoy this more, but I really long to try the cream version, if only to see in how many ways it can go wrong.

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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Hamburger Klöben (1830)

Just as brief post today. A friend of my mother who is housebound said he enjoyed the Quarkstollen I baked in December very much and said he was sorry that he would have to wait until next Christmas for another one. So I used the free Saturday to make some more and also to try out the recipe for Klöben from the 1830 Hamburgisches Koch-Buch:

IX No. 88: To bake good Klöben

Take 10 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of butter, half a Loth of cinnamon, half a pound of currants, a quarter pound of sugar, 1 cup of syrup, 2 cups of large raisins, 4 beer glasses of warm milk, 2 glasses of yeast, and prepare it as Hannoverschen Kuchen. From this dough, you can prepare 5 Klöben, brush them with egg yolk, and bake them in an oven.

(…)

IX No 106: Hannoverscher Butter Cake

Take two pounds of good wheat flour, a quarter pound of ground sugar, cardamom, three egg yolks, and grated lemon peel in an earthen bowl. Lay one pound of butter and a little salt in the centre of the flour and pour on a large beer glass full of warm milk and a little less warm white beer yeast. Stir it all well together and if the dough is not soft enough, add a little more warm milk. When all is stirred well and the dough detaches from the bowl, work them thoroughly with your hands on a table and roll it out as evenly as the sheet on which it is meant to be baked. …

A Klöben or Klaben is the North German equivalent of a Stolle or Striezel, a rich, heavy cake with spices and dried fruit traditionally eaten in winter. Unlike the Stollen in Dresden, Klöben never was associated exclusively with Christmas, though. It has thus dies out almost completely, replaced by more contemporary confections like brioche, Rosinenstuten, and croissants.

Despite including measurements, the recipe is not entirely self-explanatory. Referring to the related one for Hannoverscher Kuchen helps with the preparation procedure, and in the end I guesstimated the size of a beer glass and divided the quantities by ten. That gave me a manageable 500g of flour (I used Typ 405), 100g of butter, a slightly implausible 12.5g of sugar and a few tablespoons of syrup (I did not measure these exactly), about a quarter cup of raisins and currants, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I mixed the dry ingredients, then worked in the butter and turned the whole into a pliable dough with milk in which I had dissolved the yeast. Since I was not sure of the consistency aimed for, I went with what I normally use for yeast Stollen. It took a long time to rise, but then baked very well. Unfortunately, by that time it was quite late and I was a little impatient, so I overlooked the loaf had tipped on its side on the cooling rack. That explains the somewhat unusual bendy shape.

Today, I tried some and I have to say it is quite good. While it is nowhere near as sugary rich as Stollen, it is noticeably sweet and assertively spicy. It also toasts well. I’ll bring some to work tomorrow to test on my colleagues.

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Egg Tarts from Philippine Welser

Another instance of this manuscript collecting many variations on a theme:

13 If you want to make an egg tart

Take a Maß of milk and add ten eggs. Beat them well together and then put it into a pan. Brush the pan with fat beforehand so that it sticks less. Then let it boil together, and do not make it too hard. Afterwards, pour it out on a sieve or a colander and let it cool. Stir it well and add a little sugar and cream until it flows. Then put it on a tart base and let it bake nicely in a tart pan. When it is half baked, strew it well with sugar and let it bake fully.

14 If you want to make an egg tart for one table

Take eighteen eggs and beat them well, and add a seydlin of milk and a little flour. Take fat, as much as the size of half an egg, and put it into a pan. Let it heat up and pour the beaten eggs into this and let them boil together. Do not let it burn, pour it out on a sieve or colander and let it cool. Stir in sugar, spread it on a tart base, and let it bake.

15 If you want to make a good egg tart

Take a quarter pound (fyerdung) of almonds and grind it small. Then take half the almonds and prepare a quarter (qwerttlin) of almond milk with fresh water. Then take fifteen egg yolks and beat the almond milk with them well. Then take the remaining pounded almond and half a spoonful of sugar and also stir it into the eggs. Then take fat and let it swirl around the pan and pour the abovementioned into it. Let it boil until it turns as thick as a child’s porridge (kynnds musz). Then spread it on the tart base and let it warm well in a tart pan. Then pass a piece of fat back and forth over the tart, and when the fat has melted, sprinkle pounded sugar over it and let it bake fully.

16 If you want to make an egg tart

Take eight egg yolks and beat them well and add a quarter (qwertlin) of cream to it, and fine flour (semel mel) to the value of half a Heller (halbs haler wert). Put fat into a pan, as much as a small walnut, and afterwards put the eggs into it. Prepare it like scrambled eggs (wie ain ein gerertz), as soft as you can, and pour it out on a sieve or a colander. Stir in sugar and rosewater after that and spread it on a tart base. Let it bake nicely, roughly for an hour, and sprinkle sugar on it when you serve it.

17 How to cook good egg milk and make a tart of that

Take a good Maß of cream and eight eggs with that and a little butter (botter schmaltzs). Put the cream over the fire and let it boil. Beat the eggs well and the butter with them, then put them in(-to the cream) together with the butter and let them boil up together, but not too long so it does not become tough. Let the water run off it clear and put the rest into a bowl. Stir it well like a porridge (muß) and add sugar. If you like, you can put in almonds and raisins. Put it on a tart base and let it bake nicely.

What Philippine Welser’s recipebook calls an egg tart is not something we would normally coopk today. It is based on what was known at the time as pressed milk or egg cheese, a hard custard that shows up in recipebooks with remarkable regularity. It could be served as it was or roasted, or, as in this case, turned into a tart filling. While there are variations in ingredients, in the thickness of the custard and the seasoning, but the underlying form remains the same in all of them.

Interestingly, the principle is very similar to the somewhat richer recipe Balthasar Staindl records for a kind of tart prepared specifically for Easter, the Pressmetzen.

Pressmetzen zu Ostern

ccxxii Make a good gentle egg cheese (custard) and do not burn it. Put it on a draining board so that it sinks down (drains) well, then take the egg cheese and stir it apart with a spoon, add more eggs, a little sweet cream, also grate semmel bread into it, yellow it (with saffron), season it, add sufficient raisins. Then take semmel bread dough from a baker, roll it out wide, put the abovementioned egg cheese on it, and wreath (kräntzel) it around and around (make a plaited edge). Bake it in an oven, but before you put it into the oven, add figs, put almonds on top. Anoint the wreath outside with yellowed (saffron-dyed) egg yolks and put it back into the oven briefly. These flecken (tarts) are blessed for Easter.

These were part of the Easter celebrations, carried to church to be blessed and then likely eaten communally. It is possible that these tarts, too, are associated with Easter, and they are certainly seasonal springtime foods.

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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Mouthwash for Swollen Gums

Just a short thing that showed up in the cookbook of Philippine Welser. A translation job rolled in at the last minute, cutrting into my spare time. A more culinary post will follow soon.

2 An art for someone whose gums have swollen

Take one and a half Lot oregano (wolgemut), one Lot of mint (Damentten), a quentlein of ginger root, a quentlein of elecampagne (allet), one Lot of roses, be they fresh or dried, and three spoons full of rose vinegar, all together boiled in half an Augsburg Maß of wine. You must let it boil down by half and let it stand in the pot overnight, then strain it through a cloth. You must also add a quentlein of oak leaves into all of it.

Wash out your mouth with this warm water three times, once in the morning on an empty stomach, once at midday, and once at night when you are about to go to sleep.

This recipe actually has a reasonable chance of working, given the antibacterial and astringent properties of the hernbs involved. I have not yet tried it, but there are enough data points to reprroduce it with some degree of confidence. The Lot is 1/32 of a pounds, a unit that varied between cities and regions, but usually weighed in between 15 and 18 grammes. The quentlein was 1/4 of a Lot. An Augsburg Maß of wine would come in at about a litre. The greatest points of uncertainty are whether to use the herbs dry or fresh and how big the spoon to measure the vinegar was.

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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Almond Tarts from Philippine Welser

I haven’t had a lot of time lately, but here are some almond tarts:

Philippine Welser courtesy of wikimedia commons

6 If you want to make a good almond tart

Take half a pound of almonds and grind them as small as possible. Take half a pound of sugar and six newly laid eggs with it, but only the whites of the eggs, and a little good rosewater. Mix it all together and (take) a thin tart base with a wreath (as the edge) and pour the abovementioned on it. Brush it with rosewater as lightly as you can (auff wennigest). Sprinkle it all over with sugar and blow it off again, then sprinkle on sugar again and blow it off again and then sprinkle sugar on it and blow it off again. Do this four times and then let it bake nicely slowly. It will be pretty and good.

7 Of tarts: If you want to make an almond tart

Firstly, put one pound of almonds on the table and pound them well or grind them, and when they are about to become oily, pour on rosewater. When they are ground, put them into a bowl and take the whites of five eggs and some cream and rosewater. Add this to the ground almonds until it turns thin so that it flows, but not too thin. Put this on a tart base and let it bake nicely in a tart pan. When it has set well (wol erstarcht ist), take the yolk of an egg and rosewater, beat it well, brush the tart all over, on top and on the sides, and let it bake completely.

8 If you want to make a quite good almond tart

Take a pound of almonds on the table and grind it with rosewater so that they are very small. Take it out into a bowl and take the whites of eight newly laid eggs. Beat it so it becomes like water and strain it, and add an eighth (achtelin) of cream and beat that into the egg whites. Then stir in the almonds and add enough sugar so that it is quite sweet, otherwise it is not good. When it is half baked, sprinkle it with rosewater and then let it bake fully. It must be baked quite gently and with few embers above, otherwise it will be brown.

9 If you want to make a tart of almonds

Take the almonds and grind them small. Take the yolks of eggs and a little grated bread, sugar, and rosewater, stir it together and pour it on a tart base. Bake it quickly so it does not burn and put in very little sugar beforehand. When the tart hardens (erstarckt), add a bit of butter on it every now and then. When it has risen up, sprinkle it well with sugar and let it bake fully.

10 If you want to make a tart of almonds

Grind the almonds small with rosewater and add cinnamon. Take the whites of three eggs and rosewater and grind it well together. Spread it on a tart base and bake it nicely gently (fein lieb). When it is half baked, sprinkle it well with sugar and with rosewater. You can also make fritters (krepfla) with this filling and fry them in fat.

11 If you want to make a good almond tart

Take a good pot (gaffenn) full of almonds and grind them small. When it is ground small, add a few raisins and currants (weynber unnd zy wybenn) into it. Then spread it on a tart base, take the yolk of an egg and brush the tart with it. When it is half baked, sprinkle it well with sugar and with rosewater. Then let it bake enough. The filling (fillin) should be two fingers thick.

One thing that makes the recipe collection of Philippine Welser interesting is that it often includes variations on a theme. These recipes are all for slightly different almond tarts, and it is possible they were actually gathered from different sources. There is nothing surprising or novel about them. Tarts, baked in a closed container in the coals (the Tortenpfanne or tart pan) were popular, and almonds represented luxury and refinement. It is, however, unusual to find such variation in so early a source.

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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List of Dishes from Tegernsee

I am not done yet with the Tegernsee lists. The calendar is particularly interesting, but also difficult to translate. One thing I have mostly complete by now is the list of dishes that would be served at different times throughout the year. This then reflects the repertoire of a large, well-appointed kitchen:

Tegernsee monastery, 1560 print courtesy of wikimedia commons

Offe (to serve?): onion soup, kraut (potherb) soup, rueben (root vegetable) soup, haubet or zisindel soup (soup with a specifically cut piece of bread and a fruit relish) , chickpea (or lentil) soup, pea soup, fig soup, cress (kreussen) soup, fish soup, almond soup, hemp soup, cheese soup, water soup, fat soup (smalzsuppen), wine soup, egg soup, pea soup with fritters, hadersuppen (a type of noodle?), dumpling soup, ziserne (?) soup, milk soup, cheese curd soup (zygersuppen), oat soup, tripe soup (kitlflecksuppen – maybe a pancake soup), horseradish soup, chickpea (or lentil?) soup, stabsuppen (?)

Mus dishes: pea Mus, yellow or brown, apple Mus, fig Mus, dried pear Mus, rice Mus, raisin or wine Mus, fish Mus, tart cherry Mus, wine Mus made with semel bread, common semel bread Mus, choux (?anprentz) semel bread Mus, wine Mus with semel bread and eggs, semolina Mus (griesmues), fritter Mus (straubenmueß), chopped Mus (?), cut Mus (?), wheat, emmer Mus, starch Mus (krafftmueß), porridge Mus (?preynmues), barley Mus, barley cooked whole or as groats, porridge Mus (preinmueß), bread Mus or gsellenbrot, elderflower Mus.

Kraut (greens): beet greens (rubenis), chopped, “pounded in “(eingestoßens), pureed (durchdribens kraut), gabassens (cabbage?), chopped, torn (zotls), split, pickled and sour cabbage (gepaißts und saures kraut), Bavarian, scherubenkraut (?), carrot greens (gelb ruebenkraut), green kraut, pießen (chard) of nettles and salad

Fish: boiled fish, fried fish, roast fish, tygen (?) fish, jellied fish, filled fish, pike, trout, renken (Coregonus spp), roach (rötl), salmon, ash, sturgeon (huechen), burbot (rutte), eel (alten), hasl (?), lauben anpeys (?), gobies (koppen), tench (schleyn), carp, bream (präxen), stockfish, herring, dried flatfish (platys), salmon (laxen), sturgeon (hausen), crawfish (chrebsen)

Fritters (the final course): einzogen küechl (?), pancakes (pfannzelten), hasenörl (hares’ ears), krapfen with apple filling, semelstrüczl, fried sheets (pachen pleter), fried sage, choux fritters (prante küechl), pounded fritters (?gestoßens pachen), boiled fritters (gesottens pachens), milk fritters, cheese fritters, effemdt (?), fried apples, floated (geswembt) apples, struppf (?), wafers, filled semel bread, mulberries (?maulbers), wreaths (krenntz), strauben fritters, fried bread slices (pachen schnittl), French toast (guldene schnittl), haubete kiechl (?), monks (münch – donuts?), smolznudl (?), almond cheese

Various dishes for the final course: cut (?eingeschnitten) pears, also apples, fried (geröst) tart or sweet cherries, shelled peas or peas in their pods, pea Mus, apple Mus, Bohemian peas, vicztumb (a type of soup) of barley and peas, steamed peas, rutschart (a type of porridge), rezl (?) of apples or milk, boiled oat dumplings, black dumplings in a pepper sauce or zizendl (fruit) sauce, whole or halved filled eggs in pfeffer or zisendl (fruit) sauce, fritters (kuechen) in süppl sauce or zizendl (fruit) sauce, pressed milk (hard custard), also grated milk (geribne milch), rfalbe (?) milk, voglspeis (a soft custard), “ox eyes” (fried eggs) in pfeffer or zizendl (fruit) sauce, also roast eggs, eggs in vinegar, barley in cheese broth, scrambled eggs (eingerüertz), retzen (?) of eggs and milk.

This is an interesting list, not least because, coming from a Benedictine monastery, it omits meat dishes completely (or at least almost completely). Nonetheless, it is more comprehensive than the one we know from the court of Hessen-Kassel in the 1590s (see Bach 2016, p. 79). This was a versatile kitchen demanding of its staff’s skills. A vegetarian diet, or as contemporaries would have called it, Lenten food did not have to be deprived if you had enough money. To the extremely wealthy house of Tegernsee, that would not have been an issue.

The first part of the list makes reference to soups, a topic treated in greater detail in the instructions for provisions issued for each kind. The two lists do not match exactly, but the only soup from the provisions list not included here is the crawfish soup. There are several soups mentioned here and in the calendar that are not in the provisions list, though. With entries like water soup (likely a vegetable broth served over bread), fat soup, and curd cheese soup that is because no ingredients for these were drawn from stores. In other cases, the reason is less clear.

Most soups are readily identifiable by their primary ingredient, so we have a rough idea of what they were like. Some names are not entirely transparent, though. We have seen that haubet soup depended on a specific manner of cutting the bread served in it. It is also called zisindel soup here which indicates that the fruit sauce of that name played a role, likely dabbed on the bread in the soup bowl as a relish. There is also hadersuppen, which may be a soup with egg or pieces of pancake served in it. Hader is a word for rag, and such pieces might have recalled the appearance. Stabsuppen is less clear to me, so I will hope to stumble over a recipe at some point. Finally, while kitlfleck clearly would translate as tripe, it can’t really mean that. Benedictines did not eat meat, at least not overtly.

Next, there is Mus, a term that includes anything soft enough to eat with a spoon, but not liquid enough to be a soup. Again, there is a parallel list of provisions to be issued for the various types, and the overlap is considerable. A few dishes listed here are not found there, and in some cases their identity is not clear. The two mentions of prein or preyn Mus are odd because they seem repetitive and because they seem to just mean “porridge Mus”. There probably was something specific to its consistency or preparation. The chopped and cut Mus may be references to a kind of pasta dish that was variously prepared from torn pieces of fresh dough or from cut or chopped noodles. Krafft Mus is interesting for using starch. I have not found many other references for this. Finally the gsellenbrot may well be the kind of bread porridge you would prepare from hard bread and hot broth, a common dish that a poor Geselle (journeyman) might well eat at the table of a tight-fisted master.

Kraut is an interesting section without any parallel in the other part. Kraut was a catchall term for all kinds of leafy greens, and the way several entrries just refer to the way this is prepared – chopped, torn, split, or pureed – suggests that cabbage, and specifically head cabbage, was the most common kind. That is what you would expect at the time. I do not know what exactly set apart some named plants – Bavarian kraut, kabassen, or scherubenkraut – but I suspect they were variants of cabbage or beet greens. Pießen is a bit unclear; The word usually refers to chard, but the way it is linked with nettles and salad (most likely meaning lettuce, the primary salad herb) here suggests it may refer to a dish made of these plants.

Next we have a fairly comprehensive list of fish, distinguished by their method of preparation and their species. Fish was a luxurious dish that the monks obviously enjoyed greatly. The kitchen prepared not just locally caught freshwater fish, but also imported stockfish dried Atlantic cod – herring, and dried flatfish. The distinction between salm and laxen (salmon) and huechen and hausen (sturgeon) also likely refers to fresh-caught regional fish versus the preserved imported kind.

The list of fried foods has a parallel in the provisions section again. The overlap is considerable and I explored most names and linked them to recipes in the discussion of that. What I am not clear on is the maulbers (mulberries) and the smolznudl. Today, Schmalznudel refers to a kind of leavened fritter, but it is not clear what, if anything, distinguished them from strauben here.

Finally, there is a list of miscellaneous dishes – various kinds of cooked fruit, legumes, dairy, and others – that accompany ritters as the final course. They are not dessert food in the modern sense, that habit only develops in the course of the sixteenth century. Again, we find some of them in the dairy and egg dishes in the provisions list. Aside from some potentially interesting dishes – what are those black dumplings made with if not blood? – we have two named dishes, rutschart and vitztumb. Both likely refer to a kind of thick soup, but I have not found contemporary recipes for either.

Altogether, the range of dishes is notable. Clearly, this monastic community enjoyed variety and was not willing to let expense or considerations of asceticism get in the way of a good meal.

The recipe collection from the monastery at Tegernsee (Bavaria) is an unusual source. It seems to have been produced to serve very specific practical purposes in the administration of that particular monastery, giving quantities for dishes and instructing the reader on which days what is to be served. A calendar and a short treatise on fishes are written in the same manuscript, the whole produced around 1500 and in use until at least 1534. The text was partially edited by Anton Birlinger in Germania 9/1864 ( pp. 192-207) who regarded it as a resource for linguistic study. I am relying on his edition for this translation.

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Preserving Quince Juice

Another recipe from Philippine Welser’s recipe collection, another luxury. This is the earliest description I have yet found of the spoon test:

Philippine Welser courtesy of wikimedia commons

5 If you want to prepare quince juice

First take the quinces and have them peeled. Cut them apart all the way to the core, heat them in a glazed cooking pot, and pour on clean water up to two fingers below the quinces. Then let it boil under a good glowing fire (place glowing embers underneath?) and boil them until the quinces are soft and the cooking liquid quite thick. Then strain it through a linen cloth and press out the quinces very well. It does no harm if it (the juice) is opaque, that just makes it better. Then measure the juice and take a pound of sugar to an eighth (achterlin) of juice, but if you wish to have it sweeter, you can take more sugar. Then set it over a good fire and let it boil quickly. When you want to see whether it has boiled enough, take a silver spoon, dip it into the juice, and let it cool. If a skin (heyttl) is formed on the spoon, it has boiled enough. But though it is thick now, it is not yet good. You can then pour it into any vessel you like and it will throw up a foam. Take that off.

This is an interesting recipe, but its description is misleading to modern readers. We are looking at something more like a jelly, not what we would think of as a fruit juice. In fact, it comes fairly close to what Walter Ryff calls a quince electuary. There is not much to be said about the recipe. As an ingredient, sweetened, gelled quince juice represents great indulgence.

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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Clarifying Sugar with Philippine Welser

Another source begins. Recipe 1 in the recipe collection owned by Philippine Welser (c. 1550):

Philippine Welser courtesy of wikimedia commons

1 Clarifying sugar

Take one pound of sugar and the white of an egg, beat this well with a spoon and put it into the sugar. Pour on one Maß of water and stir it together. Then place it in a brass pan and set it on a trivet. Place embers below and let it stand two hours. Do not stir it, but see that it does not boil over. When you see that the mass (der kitt) holds together (solidifies/coagulates) and it comes up and the sugar turns brown, take it off the fire and strain it carefully through a cloth. Then put it back on the trivet and let it stand for an hour, and when you see it is brown (prun ist), take the sugar off the fire and put it with the thing you wish to preserve, be it ginger or apples of paradise (paredeyss epfoll) or other things. Let it stand for a long time until it turns lukewarm (lab), that is proper.

We had other recipes for clarifying sugar from the sixteenth century, but this one is interestingly different. The goal does not seem to be producing a clear, white sugar but to caramelise it. As the final sentences explain, it is intended as a syrup to preserve foods, among other things ginger, a process often described in Renaissance cookbooks.

Egg white foam on boiling sugar syrup

The description made me curious, so I tried to replicate the basic conditions: a pound of sugar, about 800 ml of water, and one egg white beaten together and slowly brought to a moderate heat. It took more power than I thought it would, but the pot bubbled and produced a surprising amount of solid foam. This is caused by the egg white and probably is the kitt that “comes up” in the recipe. Since this was industrially refined sugar, there were no impurities in evidence and the syrup started out clear. After it had reduced by about half, it started to turn honey-coloured and I strained it, removing the foam. After being returned to the pot, the syrup again produced copious, but not solid foam and the colour darkened. In equal measure intimidated and bored, I decided to end the experiment before producing very dark brown and poured it off into a metal bowl. It promptly began to form small, grainy crystals, something that has often happened to me with German-made beet sugar. I don’t think it would have happened with the original.

Darker, honey-coloured syrup after straining

Incidentally, I am not sure what ‘apples of paradise’ are. There are various types of apple locally known by that name today, but I do not think the writer would use this distinction when everywhere else, “apples” was clear enough. Austrian dialect uses the word to refer to a tomato which is technically possible, but highly unlikely in the mid-sixteenth century. In the past, pomegranates were also called apples of paradise, but I have yet to find that term in culinary recipes. Finally, the manchineel (Hippomane mancinella) is sometimes called this, but that plant is not only strictly tropical, but also lethally poisonous. None of the candidates look like a good fit.

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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Fritters from the Tegernsee List

Again a longer hiatus, but here is another interesting part of the Tegernsee list. We cannot reconstruct the dishes here because the majority of ingredients do not seem to have come from managed stores, but the variety of fritters served is interesting, and we have surviving recipes for some of them.

Tegernsee, c. 1560

7 Of fritters (pachen) for 40 persons

For strauben: 35 eggs

For round strauben (ringen streublen): 8/9 each

For wreaths (kräntzen) 1 egg each

effendmt (?) 20 eggs

maulkorb (lit. muzzles) the same

hasenörl (hare’s ears): 1 egg each

Fried sheets: 1 egg each, 40 for the dough/batter, a kand (Kanne?) of wine

Choux fritters (? prannten küechl): 2 eggs each

Milk fritters (milchkuechl): 70 eggs, 1 Maß of milk

Fried apples: 40 eggs, a drink of wine at the time of no eggs

Fried sage: each 1 egg, 1 cup of wine

Filled semel loaves: 30 eggs, 8 semel loaves

Filled wafers: each 1 egg

strupffen: each 2 eggs, a little cream

fried semel: 40 eggs, 9 semel loaves

Golden slices (French toast): the same

Pancakes (pfanzelten): 1 drink of wine

eingezogen küechl: 1 stored cheese, each 2 eggs, raisins

Monks (münchen): each 2 eggs for the filling, spices for the sheets and a handful of raisins, one drink of cream

For the sauce to go with it, 2 handfuls of raisins and spices

Let us look at a few of those fritters: The first type mentioned, strauben, were the most basic type. Some recipes survive, and it seems that they were made from a fairly thick batter that was pulled out between the hands. Most likely they were leavened, probably with yeast, and while some versions are enriched with dairy or raisins, these seem to be a simple water-based kind. The ringen streublen in second position very likely are just rings made from the same batter. The difference between using eggs for serving 40 and counting 8/9 of an egg per person is close enough to fall within the normal variation of egg sizes. I wonder why the distinction was made at all.

The next, kräntzen (wreaths), are not documented elsewhere as far as I know. The dough or batter is a little richer with eggs than the one for strauben, and the description as wreaths suggests that it was firm enough to be molded or braided. Beyond this, I cannot say what it was like. Too many aspects of consistency and the production process are unknown.

The fritter known as effendmt is very likely the same that shows up as äffenmndt served on cooked barley. That suggests a descriptive name, monkey mouths, for a fritter defined by its shape. Today, we have fritters and baked confections such as bear paws (Bärentatzen) or elephant ears (Elefantenohren), and as we see with the hares’ ears (hasenörl) further down, the tradition goes back this far. The maulkorb (in modern German a muzzle for dogs, but also used for a feedbag) using the same amount of egg likely is much the same thing in a different shape. We know that äffendmnt were served over a main dish and thus likely were not sweet. We cannot be sure for maulkorb.

The hasenörl (hares’ ears) listed further down use the same amount of egg as kräntzen, but probably differed in some material way in their preparation. I have yet to find a recipe, but there are references in several sources that use similar dough for different fritters. It is described as firm enough to be rolled out and cut. That suggests that the dough used for kräntzen, while similar, may use a softer, more pliable dough. Whether one or both were leavened is speculative.

The fried sheets involving one egg per person plus a quantity of eggs to be used for a dough or batter suggests a kind of filled fritters. These were not uncommon both as rolled-up pancakes and as rolled-out sheets, and unfortunately the word used for the material (taig) can mean both a liquid batter or a solid dough. The description does nothing to resolve the ambiguity. All we can say is that the filling was based on eggs, likely boiled and mixed with other ingredients. Our best candidate is a similarly named recipe from the Mondseer Kochbuch: Here, a filling of eggs is first rolled in dough sheets and these are dipped in a batter before frying.

The prannten küechl most likely refers to what is known as Brandteig today, a choux paste. The technique is documented well and was used to produce various shapes and sizes of fritters. At two eggs per head, we are likely looking at some sort of filling or just a very rich holiday dish.

The milchkuechl that follow are fritters made from a pliable, but solid dough that is made with milk. The later Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflich Kochbuch has a recipe by that name that describes a version of choux paste where the flour is stired into hot, but not boiling milk, and the proximity to the preceding recipe actually makes that a likely candidate.

The fried apples mentioned next may well be just cored and peeled apples, possibly filled as they often are in other recipes, dipped in batter, and fried in fat. There are numerous surviving recipes for these, and we cannot be sure which type we are looking at and how complex the preparation would be.

Fried sage is interesting because while these may just be fritters seasoned with sage, there are recipes for frying whole sage leaves with a spicy filling between each two, as was more commonly done with wafers. Of course, sage leaves can also just be battered and fried without any additions. However, the quantity of eggs suggests either a filling or a solid amount of dough rather than just dipped leaves.

Filled semel may refer to entire stuffed breadrolls, for which we have a surviving recipe. These would be hollowed out, stuffed, battered and fried. The number of semel suggest dividing one between five diners, which seems paltry, so more likely we are looking at semel loaves sliced thin, with a sticky filling spread between each two, and the whole sandwich battered and fried. That would make them quite similar to the filled wafers listed next, a popular type of fritter that occurs in numerous sources and that I have cooked before. You simply use slices of white bread instead of wafers.

I am not entirely sure what strupffen are, but the large amount of eggs and the extravance of using cream suggests a rich batter or dough that may not have needed any more refinement than this. The name suggests a plucked or ragged appearance.

I would suggest that, again, fried semel and golden slices are largely the same thing, the dishes again being organised thematically. The latter is a common name for what we call French toast in English and Arme Ritter in German today: bread slices soaked and coated in an egg batter and fried. The quantity of eggs sounds roughly right, and the dishes would differ only in that one included the coveted semel loaves while the other used a different kind of bread.

Pfanzelten is a way of saying pancake, and it is interesting that no eggs are specified for these. There were many different pancake recipes and not all of them involved eggs, but with what I think is a relatively small quantity of wine, this seems a particularly meager one. Perhaps these were leavened, with a thick batter, rather than thin and flat.

The eingezogen küechl appear to be a kind of cheese fritter, anyother category of recipe that was quite popular. In the simplest form, you would mix grated cheese, flour, and eggs into a dough and fried it. I do not know what distinguished them from things like krumme krapfen or angestrichenes, but very likely it was some aspect of their preparation, how they were shaped or whether they were thick or thin. I also do not know the exact size of a cheese, so I cannot judge how much this would produce per person, but unless it is a very small one, the quantity seems ample. At two eggs per person, a Handkäse-sized lump seems out of balance.

Finally, the münchen (monks) are not a name I know from anywhere else yet, but the ingredients suggest a filled fritter with a rich sauce. This sounds much like what other sources know as krapfen, basically a thin sheet of dough folded around a filling. There are numerous varieties of these surviving in recipe sources and it is anyone’s guess what made these different from other kinds. Perhaps, like stereotypical monks, they were particularly rotund. The raisins, spices, and separate raisin sauce would certainly have made this a luxurious dish.

So to conclude, a survey of roughly contemporary sources gives us at least plausible reconstructions of most of these dishes. We are still far from putting the full menu of Tegernsee on the table, but this is no longer nearly as baffling as it was.

The recipe collection from the monastery at Tegernsee (Bavaria) is an unusual source. It seems to have been produced to serve very specific practical purposes in the administration of that particular monastery, giving quantities for dishes and instructing the reader on which days what is to be served. A calendar and a short treatise on fishes are written in the same manuscript, the whole produced around 1500 and in use until at least 1534. The text was partially edited by Anton Birlinger in Germania 9/1864 ( pp. 192-207) who regarded it as a resource for linguistic study. I am relying on his edition for this translation.

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