Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two Apple Pie Recipes. One from 1845, and one from 1381

An Old Apple Pie Recipe from 1845, and one from 1381
English apple pie recipes go back to the time of Chaucer (Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, though the precise date and location of his birth remain unknown). The 1381 recipe (shown above) lists the ingredients as good apples, good spices, figs, raisins and pears. The cofyn of the recipe is a casing of pastry. Saffron is used for colouring the pie filling.
For the 1845 Apple Pie we have as the source: The New England Economical Housekeeper, H.W. Derby, 1845. It makes one 9-inch pie, (double crust, and fruit filling). It's recipe is below.
1845 Apple Pie Recipe
Pastry dough
3 pounds apples
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (dot filling top)
Prepare the pastry: Roll the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Chill the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Prepare the filling: Pour the fresh-squeezed lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Add your lemon zest to the bowl. Peel, halve and core the apples. Be sure you remove the seeds. Slice them evenly and slim into the bowl, coating them with the lemon juice as you go.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, molasses and spices. Add them to the apples just before you want to bake the pie, mix gently. Adjust sugar to taste as needed.
Scrape the filling into the bottom crust, dot with butter and cover it with the second crust. Trim and crimp the crust; chill the pie for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Cut vents in the top crust. It is your option to sprinkle it with sugar or brush the top with egg wash. The apple pie is ready to bake.
Bake the pie on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400° F or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blonde. Turner the oven down to 375°F, and bake for at least 45 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown, and visible juices are thickened and bubble slowly through the vents in the top crust. Check if the bottom crust has darkened. If not bake a little more and cover the top crust, so it does not burn.
7. Cool the pie completely before cutting at least a few hours or warm in an hour. Store the pie uncovered in a cool place up to three days.


  1. With exception to the figs, Chaucer's recipe does sound interesting.

  2. You have not lived until you have fallen in love with figs. A mystical fruit, and altogether delicious when fresh.

    1. I adore fresh figs. I prefer the green ones(which I can't remember the name of). My good childhood friend had a fig tree in her back yard and I would feast on them when ripe. Heavenly!

    2. My great-grandparents had brown turkey figs, but I'd never tried them as a kid. Adriatic and Conadria are two popular types of green figs.