Dishes from the Cardinal's Table – Quails in Pastry Cardinal Simor

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"Dishes from the Cardinal's Table" is the title of a unique recipe book published by the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, whose period recipes give an insight into the kitchens and dining rooms of the archbishops of Esztergom in the 19th century.

This special book also mentions the festive menu of August 20, 1889, one of the dishes of which is described below:


Quails in Pastry Cardinal Simor

Although the menu card in the Archbishop Simor Library of Esztergom, which advertises the festive meal of August 20, 1889, only shows the year, it seems clear that the menu is related to Archbishop János Simor, Prince-Primate. Among the dishes listed on the menu card, the most striking is the 'Petits pâtes aux cailles à la Cardinal Simor' (Quails in Pastry Cardinal Simor), named in honour of the archbishop.

Although the recipe for the dish has not survived, so we cannot be absolutely certain of the tastes, aromas, flavours and textures, we can recall the appearance of this family of pies, which were already popular under Louis XIV. The dish itself is a pâté coated with puff pastry or crust pastry. In the Hungarian-French Cookbook (1881) by József Dobos C. we find a contemporary variant dating back to the work of the French Marie-Antoine Carême (and further). In the 19th century, pâtés made from lark, quail, fieldfare or snipe were served with Espagnole sauce.

CARDINAL’S STYLE (fr. à la Cardinal) - The term is already used in François Pierre de la Varenne's Le Cuisinier François (1651). If we are not talking about fish in a sauce, 'cardinal's style' refers to a dish of wild mushrooms and/or truffles accompanied by the flesh of a St James' shellfish or crayfish. Another version is the Richelieu cardinal pie. It contains fatty liver or a mousse made from it.

The preparation of this dish requires culinary skills, as it is left to the imagination. The recipe for 'Petits pâtés à la Dauphine' (Dauphine-style pastry) in the 1881 Hungarian-French cookery book by József Dobos C., mentioned above, is a useful guide.

"DAUPHIN-STYLE PASTRY" (Petits pâtés à la Dauphine)

The title of Dauphin was given to the King's eldest son, the heir to the throne. The word is derived from the French word dolphin, a reference to the animal on their flag. The name 'Dauphine' in the title is a geographic name, the name of the historical and cultural region associated with the title.

'Take five hundred and sixty grams of fine flour, two hundred and fifty grams of fresh butter, the yolks of four eggs, three tablespoons of fine yeast, a sufficient quantity of lukewarm milk and salt, and from these ingredients make a fine yeast dough. Now make a fine casserole of cockscomb, champignon, and cock's kidneys, all cut into small chunks, and by carefully boiling out all the foam and fat from a sufficient quantity of white gravy and poultry broth, and then boil them together to a considerable consistency, then liaison them with the yolks of six eggs, add lemon juice and a little salt to give them a pleasant flavour, and mix them with the mince above. The yeast dough and the casserole are now ready. Now roll out half of the dough to the thickness of a penholder, and with the aid of a cutter, cut out round pieces the size of wine-glasses and place on a floured baking sheet. Now brush these round pieces of dough with beaten egg, then place a mound of the above mixture in the middle of each one. Now roll out the other half of the dough and cut out similar round pieces, which you cover over the first half, then press down gently all round. When the pâtés are thus made, cover them with a clean cloth and put them in a warm place to rise. They are then fried in fresh fat until nice light brown, and arranged on a platter to serve."

Enjoy your meal!



"Dishes from the Cardinal's Table" recipe book can be purchased: 

Christian Museum

Prímás Pince Restaurant and Wine Tunnel

Hotel Adalbert

Basilica of Esztergom

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