September is officially here–how did that happen? Already, this week has started to feel very ‘fallish’ in our region of the country, and I’ve had to pull out long pants and cardigans to wear to work. I’m hoping it’s only a temporary chill and that we’ll get a bit of Indian summer yet to come, but with la rentrée (back to school) coming up this Tuesday, I can’t help but feel that the lazy days of summer are behind us now.
Autumn does have its advantages, one being that it’s the start of apple and pear season. Now I love summer fruit as much as most people, but there’s something about the thicker skin of a fall fruit that just seems right at this time of year–as we’re all putting on our own thicker layers and preparing for the cold. My husband and kids love fresh, ripe pears, but I’ve always preferred apples. Simple, unassuming, and delicious.
When I posted about Victorian cooking last week, someone asked in the comments if I could include a dessert recipe next time, and so I thought I would share a Mrs. Beeton’s recipe for an apple dessert. Now, I haven’t tried this one yet, but it sounds fairly easy to prepare, as well as being quick and inexpensive. I don’t think the name is reflective of what we would consider a cheesecake today, as it doesn’t involve any kind of cream or other soft cheese.
Apple Cheesecakes (from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management)
1/2 lb. of apple pulp
1/4 lb. of sifted sugar
1/4 lb. of butter (melted)
the rind and juice of 1 lemon
puff pastry dough
Pare, core, and boil sufficient apples to make 1/2 lb. when cooked. Add to these the sugar, melted butter and the eggs (leaving out two of the whites), and take the grated rind and juice of 1 lemon. Stir the mixture well.
Line some patty-pans (muffin tins, maybe?) with puff pastry dough, fill with the mixture, and bake about 20 minutes.
Makes 18-20 cheesecakes.
Seasonable from August to March.
You’ll notice that Mrs. Beeton doesn’t include any kind of cooking temperature, of course, but if I had to guess I would say bake at 200°C/400°F as that’s generally a good temperature for baking a tart-like dessert.
If anyone tries to make these, please do let me know how they turn out! I’m going to save the recipe and try it a bit later in the season.
And also from Mrs. Beeton’s:
THE APPLE.-The most useful of all the British fruits is the apple, which is a native of Britain, and may be found in woods and hedges, in the form of the common wild crab, of which all our best apples are merely seminal varieties, produced by culture and particular circumstances. In most temperate climates it is very extensively cultivated, and in England, both as regards variety and quantity, it is excellent and abundant. Immense supplies are also imported from the United States and from France. The apples grow in the vicinity of New York and are universally admitted to be the finest of any; but unless selected and packed with great care, they are apt to spoil before reaching England.
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