“Pare some fine-flavoured apples – the golden Mondays are very good for the purpose – slice them into rounds, and dip each piece into olive oil ; arrange them on a dish, sprinkle them with powdered white sugar and Spanish pimiento* (to be purchased at Señor Figul’s, Woburn-buildings), pour into the dish a good glass of Malaga wine, and garnish with red chillies. This is greatly esteemed with hot or cold game.
*The pimiento used in the above is not the common pimento of commerce, but a milder, though coarser, kind of red pepper, produced from Spanish capsicums.”
Georgiana Hill, How to Cook Apples, Shown in a Hundred Different Ways of Dressing That Fruit (1865)
Whenever I’m a bit short on time to put together a Historical Orchard Recipe post, I turn to Georgiana Hill’s 1865 volume of apple recipes. At least that way I know I’ll find something apple-themed without spending ten minutes scrolling through a pdf, and there’s always something intriguing enough to catch my eye.
Case in point: ‘Salade de Pommes a la Contrabandista’ or Smuggler’s Apple Salad. I’m guessing the smuggler reference is linked to the Malaga wine, which I’m sure would have been a popular choice with the revenue-dodgers.
It all seems very straightforward and easy to prepare. The one slight sticking point might be the pimiento, which these days seems to be synonymous with pimento, perhaps even the coarse pimento of commerce. Of course if you can’t get hold of the authentically Spanish stuff then paprika – plain, smoked or hot as you prefer it – will most likely be fine. And I think ‘powdered sugar’ probably refers to caster sugar, rather than icing sugar, but if the apples are sweet enough, as our more modern varieties tend to be, then you could probably skip the added carbs altogether.
Do let me know if ‘Salade de Pommes a la Contrabandista’ sounds like your sort of thing, and of course if you decide to plate some up – with or without hot or cold game, or maybe with a nice bit of cheese, some ham, a few sausages – then please do let me know. You can leave a comment below, or email me with your notes and photos.