Mrs. McLintock’s Receipts for Apple Season

October 10, 2013 in Feast or Famine, Outlandish Recipes of the 18th century, Uncategorized by M C

A friend of mine’s area of expertise was WWII and Depression era cookbooks.  She claimed by studying the recipes of past frugality you could, with a paring knife in hand, poke a hole in time and reach back into your great great grandmother’s kitchen.  Frugality, she contended, was the one thing passed down, generation to generation.  The recipes for making do.

And I’m not saying she’s wrong about that.  But when I look at these old recipes I see the roots of the recipes I use every day.  And nowhere is that more obvious than in the recipes for apples.  Take XXXIV. To Make Apple-Cream

Take them when codled, put them through a Search, mix them with Sugar and Cinnamon and fweet Cream, and ferve them up.

apple1

In other words, boil up some apples.  Press them through a sieve to remove the skins and seeds, mix them with sugar and cinnamon, blend in some cream.. and serve.  What we have here is my grandmother’s recipe for getting small children to eat their applesauce.

Pear-Cream a couple of recipes later is absolutely identical.  “ftove them tender, put them thro’ a Search, and mix them with sugar, cinnamon and fweet Cream.”  I have a bucket of pears that are ripe and softening I plan on doing just this to this evening, although I have the modern option of canning, freezing, or refrigerating my pear sauce for later use.

Likewise a modern cook will find recipe LXV to make an Apple Tart very familiar:

Pare the Apples, and fhave them down, put Sugar and Cinnamon on them and fend them to the Oven; if the Apples be green, ftove them and take off the Skin, take out the Seeds, and cut them down, and put Cordecidron and Orange Peill on the Top of them with Sugar and Cinnamon.

While today the word “tart” suggests a sweet with a pastry dough base “tart” here seems to suggest baked fruit.  There may be an assumption of a sweet dough under the apples, but it isn’t specified, so this is a baked apple dish with, if the apples are green, which I take to be “unripe” instead of the color of their skin, pre-cooked and then seasoned with lemon and orange peel to add some depth to the dish, along with sugar and cinnamon.  This dish would also be quite dry, a problem I had with the Lamb-Pye recipe earlier.  Today we’d “fend them to the Oven” dotted liberally with butter.

I’ve looked carefully at Mrs. McLintock’s recipe for Oat-Meal Pudding and while it sounds interesting… it also sounds inedible.  Oats and apples, however, we just made for each other, so I’m going to take Mrs. McLintock’s receipt for Apple Tart and dress it up a bit:

Outlander Adventures 18th Century Apple Tart update

Pare and core the Apples and cut into slices.  Arrange several layers at the bottom of a 2″ deep oven safe dish.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, and a bit of lemon juice if it’s handy
Whack a handful of walnuts with a rolling pin and combine them with a cup of rolled oats,  a cup of flour and a cup (or less if you like) of brown sugar
Cover your apples with the dry mixture, and if you’re short, make a bit more.
Dot the whole thing liberally with butter, I use 1/4 pound in the best tradition of the 18th century cook who evidently didn’t count calories.
fend to the Oven.. in this case a 375F oven for around a half hour, until the topping is browned and looking a bit crispy.

Serve with cream if you are feeling authentic, ice cream if you are not… and cheese if you’re having it for breakfast.

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