It doesn’t get much more American than apple pie. The tasty blend of flaky, buttery crust and fork-tender spiced apple filling has been perfected over centuries. But despite its status as a quintessential American dessert, apple pie has surprisingly non-American roots.
Though apple pie has long been enjoyed in the United States, it first appeared in England. Its roots would later stretch to France, where French culinary masters perfected the recipe further.
To see how the dish may have evolved, the popular YouTube show Glen And Friends Cooking claims they have one of the first written recipes for this over-335-year-old dish.
A Culinary Journey Through Time
Glen Powell of Glen And Friends Cooking has a strong passion for vintage recipes. He likes to transport viewers back in time with dishes like peanut butter bread, vintage cocktails, and 1930s southern spaghetti.
In a recent video, Powell shares a recipe for apple pie taken from a cookbook published in 1685. Powell explains that the cookbook was written by a man who trained in France and returned to England.
He says the cookbook would have been aimed at experienced chefs rather than home cooks. This would explain the lack of clear directions and advanced terminology. It would have served as a guide more than anything else.
Powell goes on to tell his viewers that the apple pie recipe in the vintage cookbook is called “A Made Dish of Butter and Eggs.” He says it will transform into a Marlborough pie, typically a single crust apple custard pie.
How To Make ‘A Made Dish Of Butter And Eggs’
The recipe reads, “Take the yolks of twenty-four eggs, and strain them with cinnamon, sugar, and salt; then put melted butter to them, some fine minced pippins, and minced citron, put it on your dish of paste and put slices of citron round about it, bar it with puff paste, and the bottom also, or short paste in the bottom.”
In the video, Powell discusses the antiquated language in the recipe. While pippins might not be familiar to modern cooks, it’s just a very old word for “apple.” Powell explains that pippins don’t refer to a particular type of apple, apart from those that are hard, sour, or not eaten fresh, which are called “quodlings.”
To begin, he whisks together his egg yolks before adding 3/4 cups of white sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of melted butter, and a pinch of salt. Next, he adds minced apples and candied orange, lemon, and lime peel, which he substituted for citron. He fills the prepared shortcrust with the mixture in a pie dish and then tops it with a prepared puff pastry lattice.
Egg wash is added to help the pastry stick. To prevent oven spills as the pie bakes, the pie dish is set on a baking sheet. He baked the pie at 350°F until golden brown and set in the center.
Powell and his wife described the pie as fruity and custardy due to the recipe’s aggressive proportion of egg yolks. (Seriously—24 eggs?)
Still, for a recipe used 91 years before the US was founded, Powell and his wife agreed that it was a very good apple pie. Not bad for being 337 years old.