Fried apple slices dipped in a batter of eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg and rosewater or apples chopped fine in a batter thickened with flour are delicious fried. Tanseys are an old recipe, and appear in cookbooks by La Varenne (1673), Smith (1730) and cooking manuscripts from the 1600s (William Penn's wife and Martha Washington's Custis inlaws - both their apple recipes are delicious). The herb 'tansey' is no longer used in the recipe, but the name lives on.
Pare your Apples, and cut them into thin round slices, then fry them in good sweet butter; after this, take a dozen Egs,[sic] sweet Cream, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger and Sugar, with a little Rose-water; beat these well together, and pour them on your Apples, and so fry them.
LaVarenne, Francois. The French Cook. 3d ed. London: 1673
To Make an apple Tansie
Take 12 eggs & leave out halfe of whites, & beat well. Yn putin 4 or 5 spoonfulls of rosewater, a nutmeg, & halfe a pinte of cream. Yn take as many apples, being pared & skread, as will thicken it, & fry it in fresh butter. You must fry some apples in round slices & set by tillyr tansie be turned once.Yn you must lay those pieces on ye side you last.
Serve it up hot,& strow on some sugar & rose water, & shread in a leamon with yr apples & put in some sugar.
Martha Washington Booke of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed. 1996 Custis family [c. late 1600s]
Too make a Fansey of Apells
Take apells and boyle them very tender in a skillet of watter,
then strain the pap of them, and put to it sum yeolke of egg
sturing it well together,
and put in a punfull or too of grated bred,
and a Littell Crème and suger,
and so mingle it all together,
then fry it in sweet butter,
you may putt in some juce of spinaige if you will to Coller it when you mingle it –
Gulielma Penn [1644-1694] Penn Family Recipes. 1966
To make an Apple Tansey
Take three Pippins, slice them round in thin slices, and fry them with Butter; then beat four Eggs, with six spoonfuls of Cream, a little Rosewater, Nutmeg, and Sugar; stir them together, and pour it over the Apples: Let it fry a little, and turn it with a Pye-plate. Garnish with Lemon and Sugar strewed over it. 1730
Smith, Eliza. The Compleat Housewife: Or, Accomplished Gentlewomen’s Companion, London: 1730.
The Compleat Housewife was first published in London in 1727. It went through many editions and changes, with an edition published in Williamsburg, 1742 which was the first cookbook printed in America. A century and a half later the recipe was included in Our Viands: Whence They Come and how They are Cooked by Anne Walbank Buckland, 1893.
1903 watercolor of a Lewelling Crab Apple by Deborah Griscom Passmore (1840-1911). NAL Digital Collection. U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705
©2018 Patricia Bixler Reber
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