“To make Applemoyse. Take a dosen apples and ether rooste or
boyle them and drawe them thorowe a streyner, and the yolkes of three or foure egges withal, and, as ye strayne them, temper them wyth three or foure sponefull of damaske water yf ye wyll, than take and season it wyth suger and halfe a dysche of swete butter, and boyle them upon a chaffyngdysche in a platter, and caste byskettes or synamon and gynger upon them and so serve them forthe.“
Anon, A Proper New Booke of Cokerye (mid C16th)
This somewhat calorific apple dessert recipe can be found online at uni-giessen.de, and I came across it via the excellent Foods of England Project.
At first it sounds like it’s going to be some sort of apple mousse, or perhaps a custard (those four egg yolks), but then there’s the instruction to “season it with sugar and half a dish of sweet butter“. Half a dish! For starters, how big a dish should you use? A small finger-bowl sized dish? A large goose-sized serving dish? Okay, probably not the second one, but that’s still potentially a lot of butter… and with cinnamon and ginger biscuits on top, to boot.
Anyway, if anyone does want to risk the inevitable hardening of their arteries in the name of historical culinary research and actually decides to make up a batch of applemoyse, I’d love to know how it turns out (and what sized dish you decided to use for your butter…) Or you could try the earlier (c.1440) Austin Manuscripts version instead, which swaps bread, almond milk and honey for the sugar and dairy produce.
Either way, please feel free to post details in the comments below, or as always, email me with photos and a description.