To Make an Apple Pudding
For those of you who are interested in trying to replicate the three recipes mentioned in A Tale of Three Apples, the following is the recipe for our boiled apple pudding.
Make a good puff paste, roll it out half-an-inch thick, pare your apples, core them enough to fill the crust, and close up the paste. Tie it in a cloth and boil it; if a small pudding, two hours; if a large one, three or four hours. When it is enough turn it into your dish, cut a piece of the crust out of the top, butter and sugar it to your palate; lay on the crust again, and send it to the table hot. A pear pudding can be made the same way. And thus you may make a damson pudding using or any sort of plums, apricots, cherries, or mulberries.
The London and Country Cook: Or, Accomplished Housewife…. By Charles Carter, 1749
- 1/2 of the full recipe for Puff Paste (see our tutorial on Puff Paste – 101)
- 2-3 Large apples, chopped into small pieces*
- 2-3 Tbsp of sugar (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Grating of nutmeg
- Pinch of cloves (optional)
- 1 Tbsp butter (optional)
Additional Items for Boiled Pudding
- 1 egg, beaten well
- Flour for rolling and dusting of boiling cloth
- Large pot of boiling water
- Small pot of boiling water (to replenish water loss)
- 1 large boiling cloth, sturdy muslin or linen, approximately 16 x 16 inche
Dice your apples (medium-fine). Place into a bowl and add sugar, spices and butter (if using).
- Flour your board or table top
- Roll out your puff pastry into a rough circle
- Place the apples in the middle of the pastry
- Rub the outer edges of the pastry with the beaten egg yolk
- NOTE: Only one apple was used in this photo essay. You will have more filling when using 2-3 large apples
- Bring the edges of the circle together to make a ball.
- Make sure to squeeze the edges together so that the pastry is sealed.
- Dip boiling cloth briefly into boiling water.
- When cool enough to handle, spread the cloth out onto the table top and cover with a coating layer of flour. This flour layer is what will protect your pudding and keep it from sticking to the cloth. DO NOT SKIMP.
- Place pudding into middle of the floured cloth.
- Bring edges of the cloth together and tie cloth closed, leaving about an inch of headroom between the pudding and the tie.
- Place pudding into pot of BOILING water. The pudding should not touch the bottom of the pot.
- If the pot is big enough, you can let the pudding move around freely in the pot. You may also tie the pudding to a wooden spoon and place across the mouth of the pot to keep in place.
- Boil for at least 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- NOTE: The water needs to be kept boiling for the entire cooking time. Should the level of the water fall replace it with boiling water, not hot water. Anything less that boiling water will make the temperature of the water plummet and may cause the pudding to stick to the cloth, or not be fully cooked.
- Remove the pudding from the water.
- Let rest in a colander for ten minutes, and then plunge the entire pudding into COLD water for about 2-3 seconds. This will help release the pudding from the cloth.
- Place the pudding back in colander to drain.
- Carefully cut the string and peel away the cloth.
- When cool enough to handle, place a plate over the pudding, and turn entire pudding over so that you can peel the rest of the cloth off.
- Cool before serving.
- The pudding pictured here was done per the instructions of the original recipe (cut a hole in the top and add the sugar). You do not have to do it this way. Adding the sugar in with the apples first has been found in other similar recipes and actually makes for a more even taste. Enjoy!
*Baldwin, Gravenstein, and Northern Spy apples are all 18th-century varieties that you may be able to find locally. Rome, Winesap and McIntosh, though not 18th century, are very early 19th century and can be found in most grocery stores. If you are not particular about which apple you use, try a nice firm apple such as a Granny Smith, Jonagold or Braeburn.