I couldn’t resist continuing the theme of ‘When Life Gives You … Make …’ for just one more day. Apples are pretty good any time of the year, but here in this part of the world, and now, in autumn, they are damn good. I frequently find myself with a ridiculous quantity of something, due to my problem with Farmers Market Addiction, and at the moment, I have rather more apples in my kitchen than one person can eat in a week or four.
It got me thinking about the sheer usefulness of the apple, and the huge variety of things you can do with it. I was going to find some unusual thing for you to make should you find yourself in a similar situation to mine, but for sheer outrageousness cannot beat the apple/onion pie that has previously featured here. What I did discover – or rather, re-discover – was the Many Wayes of Baked Apples. In a post some time ago we had ‘Black Caps’. Today I give you ‘Green Caps’, in a recipe which shows its age due to a dangerous act that occurs in it.
From John Farley’s The London art of cookery, and housekeeper's complete assistant. On a new plan. Made plain and easy to the understanding of every housekeeper, (1787) …
Having gathered as many codlings as you want, just before they be ripe, green them* in the same manner as for preserving. Then rub them over with a little oiled butter, grate double-refined sugar over them, and set them in the oven till they look bright, and sparkle like frost. Then take them out, and put them into a china dish. Make a very fine custard, and pour it round them. Stick single flowers in every apple, and serve them up. This is, for either dinner or supper, a pretty corner-dish.
* ‘green them’ means ‘make them an attractive green colour’, and commonly involved the use of highly toxic copper salts – not recommended today! Use nice green Granny Smiths instead.
My own modest variation on the theme, which also avoids the use of artificial green colour, is to use red apples and call them ‘Red Caps’.
Quotation for the Day.
What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple tree.
- William Cullen Bryant,
The Planting of the Apple Tree