Posts Tagged ‘apple’
Tart apples, sliced
2 sheets pie crust
Nutmeg or lemon
To eat immediately, the following is excellent. Lay the slices into the plate upon an under crust; fill it quite full; sprinkle the rim with a little flour, to prevent the upper crust from adhering to the under one. Bake forty minutes, or till the apple is tender, and then slide off the upper crust and add a small bit of butter, some nutmeg or lemon, and sugar to your taste. Mix them well with the apple with a silver spoon, and return the upper crust to its place.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, 1863.
Comment: Apples in the 19th century came in a dazzling array of varieties, most a specialty of a particular geographical region where the peculiarities of genetics and pollination had brought forth a sport. The over-bred, oversized, mushy, tasteless fruits of today, selected more for their ability to look “perfect” and withstand long shipping, were unknown. This dessert would have been a treat available only once a year, at the time when the apples were coming ripe on the trees. Those to be preserved for winter would have to be either canned or packed into barrels where, with luck and dry conditions, they would slowly wrinkle but not rot.
Juice of apples, preferably fresh from an apple-press
Take the largest cask [barrel] you have on your farm, from a barrel upwards; put a few sticks in the bottom, in the manner that house-wives set a lye case, so as to raise a vacancy of two or three inches from the bottom of the cask; then lay over these sticks either a clean old blanket, or if that not be at hand, a quantity of swindling flax, so as to make a coat of about a quarter of an inch thick, then put in so much cleaned washed sand, from a beach or road, as will cover about six or eight inches in depth of your vessel; pass all your cider from the press through a table cloth, suspended by the corners, which will take out the pummice [residue from the crushed apples] ; pour the liquor gently upon the sand, through which it must be suffered to filter gradually, and as it runs off by a tap inserted in your vessel, in the vacancy made by the sticks at the bottom, it will be found by this easy method, as clear cider can be expected by the most laborious process of refining; and all the mucilaginous matter, which causes the fermentation and souring of cider, will be separated so as to prevent that disagreeable consequence.
From The Dyer’s Companion by Elijah Bemmis, 1815.
Comment: This is not really a recipe as much as a description of a filtration process. However, the fact of the matter is that despite Mr. Bemiss’ promises, the cider made by this process WILL ferment (hopefully in a constructive rather than a “sour” way) since at no point is the fresh juice boiled. Apples naturally collect yeast on their outer peel, which will pass into the juice when they are crushed. The yeast will work on the natural sugars in the juice to form alcohol, just as happens in any other winemaking process. The “hardness” of the resulting product will depend on how long it is left undisturbed in the barrel to work.
Any historical account of a social event–particularly election rallies–which mentions that “apple cider” was served, should be treated on the assumption that the cider was hard. This may help explain both the large turnout at such events (lack of television is probably a factor here too) and the very frequently boisterous behavior of attendees.
3 lb. lean beef
2 lb. beef suet
1 tbs. salt
6 lb. apples
4 lb. raisins
2 lb. currants
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tbs. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 lb. brown sugar
1 qt. Madeira wine
1/2 lb. citron, cut up
Boil three pounds of lean beef till tender, and when cold chop it fine. Chop two pounds of clear beef suet and mix the meat, sprinkling in a tablespoonful of salt. Pare, core and chop fine six pounds of good apples; stone four pounds of raisins and chop them; wash and dry two pounds of currants; and mix them all well with the meat. Season with powdered cinnamon one spoonful, a powdered nutmeg, a little mace and a few cloves pounded, and one pound of brown sugar–add a quart of Madeira wine and half a pound of citron cut into small bits. This mixture, put down in a stone jar and closely covered, will keep several weeks. It makes a rich pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
From The Good Housekeeper by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1841
Comment: As might be expected from a receipt calling for more than 20 pounds of ingredients, this is not a recipe for a single pie. Mince recipes–of which there are a huge number of variants–were made up in one marathon cooking session and then packed into jars for use over the next several weeks, months or seasons. This particular one of Mrs. Hale’s was, as she notes, not one of the longer-storing versions since it includes a mere quart of alcohol, which served as a preservative. Most minces intended to last over the whole winter were preserved with brandy–a large amount to start with, and a recommendation that each time some of the mix was taken out for use in an actual pie, that the volume removed be replaced with an equal quantity of yet more brandy or fortified wine. One imagines that the last couple of pies from each jar would have rendered the eaters into a good state of pickled preservation themselves.
Scraps of any meat, boiled until tender
Suet or salt pork, chopped fine
Apples, 1/2 to 2/3 as much as there is meat and suet
Spices to taste, especially cloves
Lemon peel [grated] and juice, optional
Sugar or sweetened fruit juice (optional)
These may be made of almost any cheap pieces of meat, boiled till tender; add suet or salt pork chopped very fine, half or two thirds as much apple as meat; sugar and spices to your taste. If mince pies are eaten cold it is better to use salt pork than suet. A lemon, and a little syrup of sweetmeats will greatly improve them. Clove is the most important spice.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, Boston, 1863
Comment: Mince pies, today comprised entirely of fruit, were originally minced meat pies, and the humble origins of the dish show through plainly here. Of course the use of spices (imported, therefore expensive) and lemons (likewise) rather belie the author’s claim that this is “very plain.”
Mince was usually made in the late summer or fall when fruit was ripe and meat was being slaughtered for winter storage. It would be made in large quantities, with substantial quantities of brandy or wine included for preservation, and kept in stone jars in the coldest part of the house, usually the cellar. Enough for one pie would be taken out as needed and the jar resealed. The process allowed the using-up of any scraps of meat and fat which might otherwise go to waste during the abundance of slaughter-time.
2-3 lb. lean pork
Puff paste or pie dough
Nutmeg or mace
Apples, cored and sliced
Sugar, about 1 oz.
1/2 pint sweet cider or wine
1 egg, beaten
Cut two or three pounds of lean fresh pork into strips as long and as wide as your middle finger. Line a buttered dish with puff-paste; put in a layer of pork seasoned with pepper, salt, and nutmeg or mace; next a layer of juicy apples, sliced and covered with about an ounce of white sugar; then more pork, and so on until you are ready for the paste cover, when pour in half a pint of sweet cider or wine, and stick bits of butter all over the top. Cover with a thick lid of puff-paste, cut a slit in the top, brush over with beaten egg, and bake an hour and a half.
This is an English dish, and is famous in the region from which it takes its name. It is much liked by those who have tried it, and is considered by some to be equal to our mince-pie.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Sadly enough, the once massive range of meat pies which made up a very long tradition in European (particularly English) cooking has faded to where the only remaining specimens are tasteless, flabby things featuring chicken or turkey and found in grocers’ freezer compartments. They are consumed largely by college students and others of the poor and/or cooking-averse persuasion. Pork and apple is a traditional combination, and this recipe would probably feed twice as many people for much more than twice the enjoyment as the nasty pre-made versions mentioned above.
“Sweet cider” simply means the plain unfermented variety, as opposed to “hard” or alcoholic versions of the fluid.
1 and 1/2 lb. good baking apples, peeled and cored
1/4 lb. sugar
3/4 c. water
yolks of 4 eggs
4 tbs. bread crumbs
1/4 lb. butter
Pare some good baking apples, take out the cores, and put them into a skillet; to a pound and a half of apples, put a quarter of a pound of sugar, and a wine glass of water. Do them over a slow fire, add a little cinnamon, and keep them stirring. When of the consistence of a marmalade, let it stand till cool; beat up the yolks of four eggs, and sift in four table-spoonfuls of grated bread, and a quarter of a pound of fresh butter; then form it into shape, bake it in a slow oven, turn it upside down on a plate, and serve.
From The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housekeeper” (Mrs. N. K. M. Lee) Boston 1832
Comment: We spent some considerable time trying to find out what a “poupeton” was, since we had never seen the term before in all our years of study of 19th century cookbooks. Evidently it is a obsolete French word for “puppet, or small baby” which is charming enough but leaves entirely unsettled the question of how such a word got attached to a recipe like this.
The clue is evidently the line to take the thickened mixture and “form it into shape” before baking. If the shape were vaguely humanoid, might it resemble a “puppet or small baby”? Is this a precursor of the technique which in later years would be applied to produce a gingerbread man? No recipes of the time call for shaping gingerbread into anything other than a flat loaf–no making it into houses, humans or anything else. But that’s the best we can figure out. Give it a try if you want something entirely unique for a dinner, a tea, a school project, or a historical-society function.