Apple season! Are you tired yet of thinking of new ways of turning these delicious fruits into pies, purées, and pastries? Then, what better way to celebrate them than to try out this recipe from the 18th-century cookbook. These breaded apples come from the cookbook of Ulrika Eleonora Munck, who was married to a Swedish bishop.
The collection of handwritten recipes were most likely written down in 1770-1780. The book was passed down in the family and was recently found in the library of the castle Skånelaholm. The castle and the collection of books and manuscripts had been in a series of families and were donated by the last private owner to Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien.
Lucky us — they decided to publish a facsimile together with comments on its positions compared to other cookbooks at the time. The book was a considerate Christmas present, and I am only just now starting to cook my way through it, so expect more interesting recipes to follow! Once I’ve cooked more of them, I’ll share my own analysis of the book.
A translation of the original recipe would sound like this, with the original punctuation (or lack thereof):
Fried apples in butter
“Peel as many apples as you wish who are tasty and keep the stalks somewhat long dip them well in whisked egg white all around and roll them in finely grated wheat bread and brown them in melted butter place them on plates and turn the stalks up they are rather tasty.”
So, what are they like?
I found them surprisingly enjoyable! The process is straightforward. Butter is, as always, a great companion, and the crumbs gave a nice texture. Apple pie-ish. Grating bread into breadcrumbs took a bit of practice but made for a very nice coating. By using small apples, the apples had the chance to cook and soften a bit, too.
A spontaneous dusting of cinnamon gave the breaded apples a bit more flavor. While cinnamon wasn’t included in the original recipe, it was common to feature it in various recipes at the time.
I don’t think anyone would spontaneously guess that these were based on an 18th-century recipe if you served them today. All in all, I would agree with Ulrika Eleonora Munck: they are “rather tasty”, indeed.
How to make 18th century breaded apples
If you want to make it more luxurious, use stale bread to make your own breadcrumbs. For four people.
4 small or medium-sized apples, with stalks
1 egg white and the smallest pinch of salt
5-6 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp butter
dusting of cinnamon
Peel the apples but keep the stalks intact. Use a fork to whisk the egg white with the salt until it has broken up. Roll the apples in the egg white until they are covered, then roll them in the breadcrumbs on a plate. Make sure they are evenly covered, first of egg white and then of breadcrumbs.
Heat the butter in a frying pan. Once the butter has gone quiet, fry the apples on medium heat on all sides until the apples become a bit softer (check them with a toothpick) and the breadcrumb coating has turned golden brown and a bit crispy.
Dash over a little cinnamon for extra flavor.
Serve the breaded apples as they are, or maybe with a custard or simple raw custard cream sauce. Vanilla ice cream could also be nice.
Vary the flavoring by sprinkling over dried grated ginger or cardamom instead.