14 January 2010

A&S 50: Food item four: A molded and fried pastry

This was a great success! I owe a big thank you to Iohanna for pointing me to this cookbook, and to Katriona, and Ivetta for loaning me the rosette irons. I really enjoyed making these, and I entered them into the Spring Coronation A&S Feast this past April.

"A molded and fried pastry" 
Rosette recipe from the Renaissance
 Julia May, aka Samia al-Kaslaania
April 2009

As it appears in Das Kuchbuch der Sabrina Welserin, translated by Valoise Armstrong, 1998, recipe # 88. This is a German cookbook dated 1553.

Translated original recipe:
"Take eight eggs and beat them well and pour them in a sieve and strain them, put a little wine with it, so that it goes through easily, the chicken embryo remaining behind. Afterwards stir flour into it, until you think that it is right. Do not make the batter too thick. Dip the mold in with proper skill and let them fry, then it is well done. Salt the eggs.”  [Footnote by translator:] The molds for these pastries are still available and consist of a decorative metal shape attached to the end of a long rod. The mold is dipped in to the batter and then into hot fat.

Special Equipment:
-Rosette Iron (I prefer the handle with a double end for attaching two rosettes at a time).
-1 quart casserole dish (small, square and flat bottomed with just enough room to accommodate the double iron)
- 9" cast iron skillet (it has just enough room to accommodate the double iron)
-Candy/ deep fry thermometer

about ¼ C red wine
½ C flour
1 t. salt
1 ½ pounds of lard
Sweet or savory spices

Makes about 2 dozen

Heat the lard in the 9” cast iron skillet.  Using a candy/deep fry thermometer bring the temperature to a constant 350°F to 375°F.* On my stove this is gas mark 4. This process took about half an hour to get the temperature stable.  Note that lard smokes at about 400°F.  *In this shallow pan, after making your first set of pastries, the thermometer will fluctuate in this range, rising when you add the batter-covered irons and falling as you remove them.

While the lard is heating, beat the eggs with the wine. The result will be an ugly grey color but that’s fine: once cooked the pastries will be a golden brown. Run the mixture through a sieve into the square casserole dish. Using a whisk, blend in flour a little at a time until you get the consistency of heavy cream.  Some flour lumps are ok.

Be sure the irons are thoroughly dry before proceeding (otherwise the oil will spatter the first time you immerse them). If using a double rosette iron handle, set the irons flat on the counter and adjust the tightness until the irons are even with each other. 

When the fat is at temperature, dip the irons in the fat for about 30 seconds.  Lift the irons and allow the excess fat to run off. Dip the hot irons in the batter (the batter will sizzle).  Be careful that the batter does not rise over the top of the irons, this would make them impossible to get off cleanly when they're done cooking. Lift the irons out of the batter-- the batter should not drip or run off the irons (add more flour if it does, and do not cook the batter on the irons-- it would just make your cooking fat grungy). Immediately dip the irons in the fat and cook until the bubbling slows down and they are a light golden color. The color will deepen slightly as they cool.

Gently slid the pastries off the irons with a wooden spoon, and flip them over to drain on paper towels. Season as you wish while still hot. These pastries have an eggy flavor that will accommodate either sweet or savory spices.  I have used the following combinations: a sprinkle of rose water, Ceylon cinnamon, and powdered sugar; or Italian spices (basil, oregano, garlic, and parsley). Orange flower water would be good, as would honey.

Interestingly, all of the modern recipes for rosette pastries that I can find include milk instead of wine.

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