On the way to the new place last night Martin’s keen eye discerned a beaver by the side of the road and we went back for a closer look. He did not seem at all afraid of people as we were able to stand maybe 5 feet away while he grazed away on red clover. I had never been that close to one in the wild or had an opportunity to watch it eat, and it was quite pleasurable to see it reach for bunches of clover with its front paws, bite it off, and reach for another handful, all very raccoon-like. When he’d finished his dinner, he walked around and down an embankment to a little creek where he no doubt has a home. We wondered if recent heavy rain flushed him out of that home, but decided by the size of the patch of clover that had been bitten off he’d been coming there since before the creek flooded, or else he has loads of hungry friends. (I will post a photo later).
After 15 minutes of watching our new friend eat his dinner we drove on and after a moment I thought of my new fruit trees and how quickly the bunnies or deer could dispatch them. I think I will put better wire around them and discourage nibblers. I am looking forward to my first harvest, but in the meantime let’s take a look at how our grandmothers would have served those apples.
BAKED APPLES. Pare some large greening or pippin apples and remove the cores without breaking the fruit; set the apples in a shallow tin pan, fill them with sugar and pour a little water in bottom of pan; set them in a hot oven to bake till done; care should be taken not to have them broken; when done remove them from oven, pile up high in a glass dish and dust with fine sugar.
APPLE SAUCE. Pare, core and cut into small pieces 12 good sized tart apples, put them into a saucepan with ½ pint water [cider or juice is better] and cover and stew till tender; add 1 cup sugar, press it through a sieve or colander, pour into a glass dish and serve either warm or cold.
COMPOTE OF APPLES. Choose medium sized tart apples, pare and cut them into halves, take out the cores, round the edges and lay them in cold water with lemon juice; boil 1 pound sugar with 1 pint water and the rind and juice of 1 lemon in a wide, low saucepan; put in the apples and let them boil 3 minutes; then turn the apples around, cover the pan and set it on side of stove, where they will stop boiling; let them stand 10 minutes; then thrust a straw through them; if it goes through easily they are done; if not, boil them for a minute longer; remove them from fire and set aside; when cold take the apples out of the syrup and lay them on a sieve; boil the syrup down until it thickens; pile the apples up in a glass dish and pour the syrup over when cold.
APPLES WITH WHIPPED CREAM. [Prepare the apples as above, put a thin layer of currant jelly over them, and top that with whipped cream flavored with vanilla. I think there is room for experimentation with the flavor of jelly one uses.]
APPLE SOUFLE. Strain 1 quart apple sauce through a sieve, sweeten to taste and add the juice and grated rind of 1 lemon, the yolks of 5 eggs and lastly the whites of the eggs, beaten to a stiff froth; put this into a buttered pudding dish and bake till it cracks on top; sprinkle with sugar and serve without sauce.
PLAIN DUMPLINGS WITH STEWED APPLES. Pare, core, and cut into quarters 6 tart apples; boil 1 cup sugar with 2 cups water to a syrup, put in the apples and boil till tender, but do not allow them to break; when done take the apples out with a skimmer and lay them on a dish; mix 1 cup prepared flour with 1 egg, 1 teaspoonful butter and a little water into a thick batter, drop a small portion of the mixture with a teaspoon into the boiling apple syrup and boil 5 minutes; remove them, lay in a circle around the apples and pour the syrup over them. A few slices of lemon may be boiled with the syrup. This dish can also be made of pears, dried apples or apricots.
APPLE MERINGUE PIE. [I plan to make this one, and the one below, very soon. Martin loves pie and especially loves meringue pie. I think this one will fit in nicely with his childhood memories from Pennsylvania Dutch country.]
Press 1 pint stewed apples through a sieve, sweeten to taste and add the juice of ½ lemon, a little grated nutmeg and the yolks of 4 eggs; line a pie plate with crust, cover with buttered paper, fill the plate with dried peas and bake till crust is a light brown; remove paper and peas, fill in the mixture, return pie to oven and bake till done; in the meantime beat the 4 whites to a stiff froth and add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and a little essence of lemon; when pie is done draw it to front of oven, spread over the meringue and let it remain for a few minutes longer in oven; then take it out and serve when cold.
APPLE PUDDING (German art). Pare, core and cut into quarters 6 good sized tart apples, put them into a stewpan with a little water and boil till half done; then carefully remove the apples to a pudding dish, pour 3 tablespoonfuls raspberry syrup or jelly over them and set aside to cool; place a saucepan over the fire with 1 pint milk and ½ tablespoonful butter; as soon as it boils put in 1 cup sifted flour and stir until the mixture forms into a smooth paste and loosens itself from the bottom of saucepan; transfer it to a dish; stir 1 tablespoonful butter to a cream and add alternately the yolks of 5 eggs, 5 tablespoonfuls sugar and the paste, a spoonful at a time; when this is well blended together add the grated rind of 1 lemon, ½ cup finely chopped almonds and lastly the beaten whites of 5 eggs; pour this mixture over the apples and bake in a medium hot oven for ¾ hour; it may be served with wine, fruit or hard sauce or may be dusted with sugar and served without a sauce. NOTE. When peaches, cherries, plums or berries are used they need not be cooked before baking.
Source: Lemcke. 1918.