A hundred years ago there was a limited selection of fruits and vegetables during the winter months. Onions and apples are two foods that store well, and were frequently eaten during the winter – though I had never thought of them as being foods that would be combined in one recipe until I saw a recipe for Fried Onions with Apples in a hundred-year-old cookbook. I couldn’t picture what this recipe would taste like, so decided to give it a try.
The sweet tartness of the apples combined beautifully with the sharpness of the onions to make a tasty side dish. I served the Fried Onions with Apples with roast beef and it nicely complemented the meat.
3 large tart apples, peeled and sliced (I used Braeburn apples.)
2 tablespoons bacon fat or other fat (The old recipe called for meat drippings.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
Heat fat in a skillet, then add the onion slices. Saute using medium heat until the onions begin to turn transparent, then add the apples, salt and water. Cover and cook until the apples are soft (10 – 15 minutes). Remove lid, increase heat to medium high, and fry until the water has evaporated and the onions and apples are a light brown; stir frequently.
I always enjoy Waldorf Salad, so was intrigued by recipe for Apple and Celery Salad in a hundred-year-old cookbook. It seemed very similar to Waldorf Salad – but with fewer ingredients (just apples and celery). I wondered, would I miss the nuts and raisins in the typical Waldorf Salad?
The verdict- Apple and Celery Salad was nice, but I prefer Waldorf Salad with the added crunchiness and sweetness of the nuts and raisins.
Here’s the original recipe:
I went with the mayonnaise option when I made this recipe, and I did not garnish with lettuce. (Exactly how do you garnish with lettuce?) I also did not peel the apples. To be totally honest, I somehow failed to notice that the apples weren’t supposed to be peeled until I started writing this post. When I made this recipe, I was in a hurry and just glanced at the recipe, and thought that this would be an easy recipe because it was Waldorf Salad minus half the ingredients. I should have read it more carefully. The salad would be different (and less colorful) if the apples had been peeled.
And I also failed to notice that I was supposed to marinate the apple pieces in lemon juice – but we ate the salad soon after I made it, so the apples didn’t discolor. (I think that coating them with mayonnaise also slows discoloration).
I used just enough mayonnaise to coat the celery and apple pieces (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup). I previously made the Golden Salad Dressing recipe that is listed in this recipe when I made another recipe from this cookbook: Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing. Golden Salad Dressing recipe can be found in that post.
I’m now realizing that I barely made the original recipe for Apple and Celery Salad – and am fascinated that I somehow failed to do so many things quite right with such a simple recipe. I guess it’s a lesson learned about carefully reading directions even for the easiest recipes. That said, the recipe turned out well, so the updated recipe for modern cooks is based on how I made it..
Sausage and apples are a classic combination, so I was thrilled when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sausage and Apple Slices. It is a simple recipe that brings out the best of both foods.
Old-fashioned classic peppery sausage links such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage work well in this recipe. And, the apples are cooked in a simple sugar syrup which enhances their natural tart-sweetness.
I can’t decide whether this dish was originally intended to be a breakfast or dinner dish. I served it at dinner, but it would work well for either meal.
1 pound sausage links (This is excellent with old-fashioned peppery sausage such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4-5 tart apples which hold their shape when cooked (I used Braeburn apples; Rome or Granny Smith would also work well.)
Prick each sausage link several times with a fork. Put in a large saucepan, and cover with water; bring to boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. While cooking sausage, preheat oven to 400° F. Put sausage links in an oven-proof skillet (I used a cast iron skillet), place in oven and brown (about 10 – 20 minutes). The sausage should be turned several times so that they brown evenly.
In the meantime, peel and core apples, then cut into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture using medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apple slices. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the apple slices are soft. Using a large spoon, gently rearrange the slices once or twice, so that they all soften at about the same time. Remove from the heat, and gently remove the slices from the syrup.
To serve, arrange links on plates, and place apple slices to the side.
Fall is the season for apples, and the perfect time to make apple desserts. I recently found a lovely hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Apple Roll; however, it has one quirky characteristic. The recipe does not call for any cinnamon.
The Baked Apple Roll is smothered in a very simple sugar, water, and butter sauce. The roll looked beautiful, but (since I’m so used to apple dishes being spiced with cinnamon), the roll tasted bland to me. If I made this recipe again, I might add some cinnamon – though I recognize that wouldn’t hold true to the old recipe.
Here’s the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I halved it, and still had a large roll that made 4-5 servings. Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks.
3 cups chopped apples (about 2-3 large apples) (peel and core before chopping)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 325° F. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tablespoon butter. Add milk, and mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. If it is excessively sticky, add additional flour. Turn onto a well-floured prepared surface, and roll dough into an approximate 11-inch square that is 1/4 inch thick. Evenly spread chopped apples on the rolled dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Start at one side and roll. Seal edges by pressing together to help prevent the juice from running out. Place in an oblong baking dish (approximately 7 inches by 12 inches or larger) with the “seam” at the top.
In a bowl, combine the sugar and water. Carefully pour the sugar mixture into the edge of the baking dish. Do not pour it over the top of the roll. Cut the 1/4 cup butter into small pieces, then “dot” the sugar/water mixture with the butter pieces. This will turn into a syrup as it cooks. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and baste the roll with the hot sugar syrup. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. The roll can be cut into slices, and served hot or cold with the syrup drizzled around the slices.
Simple, tasty, attractive salads are the best. I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill. Date and Apple Salad has a light lemon and oil dressing. The apples and dates are cut into “match-stick” pieces which makes a lovely presentation; and the tart, crunchiness of the apples combines beautifully with the sweet, chewy dates. This recipe is a keeper.
Cut dates into lengthwise into “match-stick” pieces, and put into a bowl. Peel and core apples, then cut into match-stick pieces. Dip apple pieces in lemon juice, then place in the bowl with the dates. Add salt and oil; then gently toss. If desired, serve on lettuce leaves.
The hundred-year-old recipe called for six tablespoons of oil. This seemed excessive, so I used two tablespoons of oil.
6 apples (Use an apple variety that keeps its shape when cooked – Rome, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn, etc.)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg. beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
Core apples, and place in a baking dish. (The baking dish will be easier to clean if it is lined with foil.) Spoon sugar and cinnamon mixture into the center of the apples. (Depending upon the size of the apples, there may be some left-over cinnamon and sugar.) Drizzle a small amount of water over each apple. Place in oven and bake until tender (about 35 – 45 minutes).
In the meantime, make the sauce by putting the sugar and corn starch in a saucepan; stir to combine. Slowly stir in the milk, then put on the stove and bring to a boil using medium heat. Remove from heat and place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot mixture into dish with the beaten egg, stir quickly. Add the egg mixture to the hot liquid in the saucepan and return to heat. Cook for 1 minute while constantly stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
To serve, spoon sauce over the baked apples. Serve warm.
Custard pies were very popular a hundred years ago. One of the old-time fall favorites is Apple Custard Pie. The delicate custard taste mingles with the apples and a hint of cinnamon to create a truly special pie.
Old-Fashioned Apple Custard Pie
2 1/2 cups apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 10-inch (large) pie shell
Combine apples, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil and then reduce heat; stir occasionally. If needed to prevent scorching on bottom of pan, add a small amount of additional water. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). Cool slightly; then strain the apple mixture. Keep the cooked apples and discard the liquid. Set aside.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, salt, and milk. Beat until blended. Stir in the cooked apples. If the apples are still hot, use care to stir while pouring them into the custard mixture to ensure that none of the egg coagulates from the heat. Pour into the pie shell, then bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until knife inserted into center pie comes out clean.
This pie takes a long time to bake. If the top looks like it might start to burn before the center of the pie is solid, reduce heat to 325 degrees.
For this recipe, I used apples from a tree in my yard that, when cooked, get soft and do not hold their shape particularly well. I like how the cooked apples are widely dispersed in the custard; though, if preferred, firmer varieties may be used.