was September 17th, and apple dumpling were in my dreams. And dumplings in general.
In almost every internet blurb about dumplings or apple dumplings was
Apple dumplings are an ancient British food, described in print from the 17th Century. They were even more popular in the American colonies and Early American period because apples grew well here, dumplings can be made from dried apples as well, and vast boiling pots were the easiest form of cooking to tend and add to in the hearth cooking days.
This is a copy and paste sort of way of tossing some ‘history’ in without doing much heavy lifting. Sigh. and blah blah blah.
Now, since 17th food stuff in print is my bread and butter, as it were, I know that dumpling recipes are few and far between. There are a few more dumpling references, indicating that dumplings are the sort of thing that isn’t likely to find it’s way into a book of cookery, like Capon in the French Fashion or Oxfordshire cakes , because dumplings are, like their lowly sounding name, common and ordinary fare for the common and ordinary sort. But there are some references and recipes…..
I would like to say right here, right now, that I haven’t properly researched dumplings – this is rather random information that a day of looking at apple dumpling images has led me to.
This is the earliest 17th century recipe for dumplings that I found (I haven’t referenced the earlier material). It was in the same section as paste for pies.
To make Paste for Dumplins.
Season your flower with Pepper, Salt, and Yest, let your water be more then warm, then make them up like Manchets, but them be somewhat little, then put them into your water when it boyleth, and let them boil an hour, then butter them.
1653. W. I. A True Gentlewomans Delight. Falconwood Press: 1991. p. 43.
Essentially, it sounds like a plain dumplings that would be great with chicken….. . Easy, filling, and but no apples.
But, wait, there’s another dumpling recipe, and it’s a little fancier…..
To make a Dumplin.
Take a pint of Cream and boyl it with a blade of Mace; then take twelve spoonfuls of grated bread, five spoonfuls of flower; then take six yolks of Eggs and five whites; beat them very well with two spoonfuls of Rosewater and as much fair water, season it with sugar, Nutmeg and salt, mingle them altogether with the Cream, tye it in a cloth, and when your water boyles, put it in and boyl it one hour and half, and when it is enough, serve it in with Rosewater, butter and sugar.
1664. Hannah Wolley. The Cooks Guide. p. 34-5.
Still no apples, but this is richer, nicer, sweeter…..and it’s a dumplin in tied up in a cloth. Dumplin is a word we shouldn’t have shucked.
So what’s the difference between this dumplin and a bag pudding?
To boil a Pudding which is uncommonly good.
Take a pond and [a] half of Wheat-flour, three-quarter pond of Currants washed clean, a half pond Kidney-suet, cut it very small, 3 Eggs, on and half Nutmegs, grated fine, a little Salt, mix it with a little sweet Milk so dry that one kneads it like a Bread and tie it in a clean cloth rather close and throw it into a pot with boiling water and let it boil for two hours, then it is done.
Peter Rose, trans. The Sensible Cook. p.79.
This pudding IS uncommonly good. Because The Sensible Cook is a translation of a Dutch cookbook, among our Pilgrim selves we sometimes refer to this a a Dutch Pudding. But the difference between the dumplin and the bag pudding……too close to call.
If you’d like to see this pudding up close and in person, join us this Saturday afternoon. This pudding is one of the dishes scheduled to be on the table for the Bride-ale feasting. I should have photos after that to share.
But apples, where are the apples?
To make Apple pufs.
Take a Pomewater or any other Apple that is not hard, or harsh in taste: mince it small with a dozen or twenty Razins of the Sunne: wet the Apples in two Egges, beat them all together with the back of a Knife or Spoone. Season them with Nutmeg, Rosewater, Sugar, and Ginger: drop them into a Frying-pan with a Spoone, fry them like Egges, wring iuyce of an Orenge, or Lemmon, and serve them.
1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood press: 1989. p. 21.
Not a dumpling, but very good and easy…..rosewater is a great enhancer of apple flavor, and the squeeze of lemon or orange juice (iuyce) – genius.