Bacon & Cheese snack

August 25, 2011

Lacking time to replenish the stores I looked into dishes that could be made with what I had in the larder. This forced me to yet again look into some of the simpler dishes. In the 15th century cookbook “Ein buch von guter spiese” a dish called a good pastry seem to indicate a dish that very well could have been served even at a common tavern. However, the line that stats that it should be served immediately suggests that it was rather something that was done at feasts with kitchen personell.

 

Ein buch von guter spiese, 1354”

 

Ein gut gebackenz ( A good pastry)
Rib kese. menge den mit eyern und scharbe gesoten spec dar zu. mache ein schoenen derben teyc . und fülle den kese und die eyer dor in. und mache krepfelin. und backe sie in butern oder in smaltze. noch der zit. und gib sie warm hin.
Grate cheese. Mix it with eggs and boiled small pieces of fatty bacon thereto. Make a fine dough and fill therein with the cheese and the eggs. And make small cakes and bake them in butter or in fat, near to the time (they are to be served), and give them out warm.

(http://cs-people.bu.edu/akatlas/Buch/recipes.html)

 

Though seemingly simple there are some points that require some extra thought in this dish. First is the mixture of eggs, bacon and cheese mixed into the dough or is it folded in. Secondly, what exactly is meant with a fine dough?

 

While the suggestion to bake the dough into a cake would suggest that it should be all mixed up and shaped like a cake, another possible suggestion would be to bake it more or less like a dumpling. Several Dutch recipes from the early 16th century suggests that one should fold the dough over a filling, very much like a modern small filled pastry. As I today had the fortune to have some assistance from two of the visitors I was able to experiment with three different ways of cooking this dish.

 

In order to try out how the dish appeared in the different guises we made three batches, one in which the bacon & cheese mixture was mixed out with a dough of wheat flour and water in order to make a small rounded cake.

 

In the second batch we just made some small dumplings in a water and wheat dough. Here I let the interpretation of a fine dough just refer to the use wheat flour.

 

A third way to interpret the dish was to make the dough fine and elastic with the use of some fat.

 

For the filling I used the cheese I had available, a traditional Swedish cheese, and a cold-smoked bacon that I gotten from my local deli. Though the bacon presumably could reflect what I could expect to find in the period, I am not entirely sure about the cheese. It is possible that I should have used a drier somewhat sharper cheese. Anyway, the mixture was made the same for all three varieties. The bacon was boiled and then chopped up in small pieces, and mixed up with an egg and a handful of cheese. [The repeated instructions to pre-boil the bacon, could indicate that it was a fair bit saltier than the ones we use today, that said a traditional bacon that is left to hang for a while will get dry and hard to cut up, why the pre-boiling could just be a way of making it easier to work with]

 

The three batches where then fried in butter, starting with the cakelike batch. This allowed for most of the milkproteins to be absorbed in the cakes, making the next few batches easier to deepfry.

 

While all three produced nice little pastries they turned out somewhat differently.

 

The cakebatch, appeared saltier and a bit heavier than the rest, giving it a feel of being more or less a beersnack. The first dumpling batch was far more balanced to the palate, if a bit undercooked and heavy in the dough. In the final batch we were able to make the dough somewhat thinner, which made the filling more cooked and the overall balance between dough and filling the most pleasant.

 

 

My assistants mentioned this cooking experience in the blog belonging to one of them

 

The pictures taken during that day by Caroline Ekberg will be put up on this entry once I reach my home computer.

5 Responses to “Bacon & Cheese snack”

  1. Andreas Klumpp said

    I would correct the translation a bit:

    A good baked (dish)
    Grate cheese. Mix it with eggs and cut cooked bacon thereto. Make a fine sturdy dough and fill therein the cheese and the eggs. And make small doughnuts / fritters. and bake them in butter or in lard depending on the time (e.g. the season), and give them out warm.

    “Krapfen” (“krepfelin” is the medieval diminutif of Krapfen) are quite common in many parts of Germany and have many different regional names. In English they are mostly translated as “doughnuts”, here more correctly “fritters”. In Southern Germany there are filled and unfilled variaties which or mostly fried in lard or butter. I would interpret the recipe as a filled fritter, the eggs, cheese and bacon mixed as filling. The problem is the big number of doughs which are used for different kinds. Historic recipes seldom explain how to make the dough. Modern “Krapfen” are mostly sweet, but historic varieties, like this one, can be salty, too. You could research into modern “Krapfen”-recipes and try to find a dough that works for you.

    • eldrimner said

      Thanks…this and a few other corrected translations, just proves how much goes into the proper translation of the recipe. However, the line fine sturdy dough would perhaps indicate that the notion of putting a bit fat in the dough was perhaps a plausible idea…makes it easier to fill and keep the dough whole.

      • Andreas Klumpp said

        I just started looking into “Krapfen”-recipes. There are some with fat but also many without. The simplest dough I could find was a pasta dough made of flour, water and salt. Some also use eggs. But that is just my first results, I just started with the search.

  2. It sounds like a portable quiche to me. Do you know whether the idea of quiche goes back to the medieval period, and where it originated? Maybe your original recipe is an early quiche.

  3. Peter said

    Nice to see that you are having this discussion. I haven’t yet found out a “correct” way to cook this dish – you are facing the same problems as I do. I’ve tried both methods, and the one that suited me best was to fold in the filling. The other way – to mix the filling with the dough – produced a sturdy and a bit tough kind of cake that I didn’t like much.

    But a while ago I came across and tested this recipe:

    Zuo krumen krapfen als rosysen solt du riben guoten käss und niem halb als vil mell und schlach ayer darunder, das es sich dester bas wellen laus und bewürcz es gnuog und will es uff ainem brett, das es werd als würst; daruss mach denn krum krapfen als rosysen, die werdent gar guot und sind vast gesund und sol sy bachen in schmalz.

    It produced a somewhat spongy, breadlike “cheese doodle” which tasted good. It wasn’t as hard to eat as the above mentioned cakes.

    My interpretation is that in this recipe all ingredients are mixed into a kind of dough and then fried in lard. If I am not mistaken, this presents us with an almost contemporary recipe of Krapfen – which backs the theory of the cake version of Ein gut Gebackenz, although the Krumen Krapfen is explicitly described as “bent as horse shoes”.

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