Loudoun’s Apple Pudding

Loudon's apple puddingJohn Campbell Loudoun’s apple pudding recipe first caught my eye because it was written in verse. A rarity today, rhyming recipes were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when they were supposedly used by housewives to help them remember recipes. Loudoun’s poem, attributed to him by Kristie Lynn and Robert Pelton, authors of The Early American Cookbook, is much older, dating back to the 18th century:

If you would have a good pudding, observe what you’re taught: —
Take two pennyworth (six) of eggs, when twelve for the groat (fourpence):
And of the same fruit that Eve had once chosen,
Well pared and well chopped, at least half-a-dozen;
Six ounces of bread, let your maid eat the crust,
The crumbs must be grated as small as the dust;
Six ounces of currants from the stones you must sort,
Lest they brake out your teeth, and spoil all your sport;
Five ounces of sugar won’t make it too sweet;
Some salt and some nutmeg will make it compleat,
Three hours let it boyle, without hurry or flutter,
And then serve it up without sugar or butter.

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Apple Pandowdy

apple pandowdy

Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
Makes your eyes light up
Your tummy say “Howdy.”
Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff…

My husband and I have been unable to stop singing this ditty ever since I made apple pandowdy recently. The song by Guy Wood, with lyrics by Sammy Gallop, is from the 1940s. (Here’s Dinah Shore’s recording.) Pandowdy, however, dates back to colonial times. It is a sort of pie made with sliced fruit — usually apples — sweetened with sugar or molasses, then topped with a rolled biscuit dough, or according to some old recipes, a pastry dough. Continue reading

Apple Dumplings

baked dumplings

Amelia Simmons, America’s first cookbook author, was passionate about apples. Here’s what she wrote in American Cookery (1796):

“Apples…are highly useful in families, and ought to be universally cultivated, excepting in the compactest cities. There is not a single family but might set a tree in some otherwise useless spot, which might serve the twofold use of shade and fruit; on which 12 or 14 kinds of fruit trees might easily be engrafted, and essentially preserve the orchard from the intrusions of boys, &c. which is too common in America.”

Living as I do in one of the “compactest cities,” I have no spot for an apple tree. But I do live a block from a farmers’ market with a huge variety of apples. I bought some Golden Delicious the other day and decided to make apple dumplings, a dish that was popular in Simmons’s time. Continue reading