William Kitchiner, on Making ‘Boston Apple Pudding’

Peel one dozen and a half good Apples, take out the cores, cut them small, put into a stewpan that will just hold them, with a little water, a little cinnamon, two cloves, and the peel of a lemon, stew over a slow fire till quite soft, then sweeten with moist sugar, and pass it through a hair sieve, add to it the yolks of four eggs and one white, a quarter of a pound of good butter, half a nutmeg, the peel of a lemon grated, and the juice of one lemon ; beat all well together, line the inside of a pye-dish with good puff paste, put in the pudding, and bake half an hour.

William Kitchiner, The Cook’s Oracle (5th edition, 1823)

Wikipedia informs me that William Kitchiner M.D. was quite the celebrity in his day; an optician, musician and cook[1] who made a point of preparing the dishes he recommended in his bestseller The Cook’s Oracle, all with his own fair hands[2].

Doctor Kitchiner was certainly an erudite fellow and possessed of an expansive vocabulary – you only have to glance at the mass of somewhat purple prose that forms the introduction to The Cook’s Oracle to see the proof of that – but his recipes were set out to be as clear, simple and easy to follow as possible.

The above recipe for ‘Boston Apple Pudding’ is a case in point. Nice, exact measurements and clear, step-by-step instructions for making a dish that certainly sounds intriguing: lovely buttery apples in a puff pastry case. No additional flour, just eggs and butter to thicken the mix, which I assume would result in something close to a baked custard tart? There’s no cream involved though, so perhaps not quite a custard. Maybe more of an apple quiche? Intriguing.

If it wasn’t for the pastry[3] I’d definitely give this one a go myself. If you think it sounds tasty enough to try, then please do let me know how you get on. You can leave a comment below, or please do email me with your notes and photos.


1 He’s also credited as the originator of wow-wow sauce. Terry Pratchett later remixed it to great comic effect.
2 We’re also informed that he “washed up afterwards, and performed all the household tasks he wrote about” which must have made him quite the exception when it came to Georgian-era gentlemen.
3 Gluten is not my friend…

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