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Mrs. Bates’ Baked Apples

The bake house at Chawton cottage shows the types of ovens used by the Austen family. The bake house was quite often a detached building as an added measure of safety against fire and to preserve the house from the heat of year round baking.

Inside the bakehouse at Jane Austen's Chawton home.
Inside the bakehouse at Jane Austen’s Chawton home.

“There is nothing she likes so well as these baked apples, and they are extremely wholesome, for I took the opportunity the other day of asking Mr Perry…” Miss Bates rattles on to Emma about Jane Fairfax’s enjoyment the apples sent by Mr. Knightley. As the Bates’ had no bake house, they were obliged to rely on Mrs. Wallis to bake their apples, though in reality, they are a simple dish to prepare. You may wish to pair this dish with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and cookies.

baked apples copy


To Bake Apples Whole
Put your apples into an earthen pan, with a few cloves, a little lemon-peel, some coarse sugar, a glass of red wine: put them into a quick oven, and they will take an hour baking.
Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1747

  • 4 Medium sized Apples
  • 12 Cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp Lemon Peel
  • 57 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 240 ml / 8 fl oz/ 1cup Red Wine or Apple Juice, divided

Preheat your oven to 177° C / 350° F.
Continue reading Mrs. Bates’ Baked Apples

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Lemon Water: A Refreshing Drink

lemon cream

Lemon water may be the staple complimentary drink of American restaurants, but the drink actually has British origins.  A recipe for Lemon Flavored Water (A Refreshing Drink) appears in Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell’s New System of Domestic Cookery, surprisingly, perhaps, under the heading “Cookery for the Sick”. There are, however, many benefits to drinking water with lemon, especially when made, as Mrs. Rundell suggest, with warm or hot water.

For a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of drinking lemon water you will definitely enjoy this article from our friends at Positive Health Wellness

Lemon Water

One blogger even went so far as to suggest 10 Medical Benefits to Drinking Lemon Water, including clear skin, fresh breath, system cleansing properties, weight loss and even enhanced hydration, among others.  During the summer months, it can be difficult to drink as much as is recommended (at least 8 8-oz glasses a day). With so much to recommend it, I’m surely inspired to try one of these Regency recipes to perk up my routine. Continue reading Lemon Water: A Refreshing Drink

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Cloved Orange: A Regency Pomander

pomanderThe word “pomander” originates from the French “pomme d’ambre.” A common interpretation of this phrase is “apple of ambergris,” referring to the wax substance used as a base in pomander recipes. Others take the phrase to mean “apple of amber” or “golden apple,” as in the fragrant citrus fruits exchanged during holidays for good luck.

The pomander became popular during the Middle Ages when the black death and other ailments ran rampant. Sanitation during the era was lamentably lacking. The streets and even some homes were strewn with filth, bodily fluids and the discarded remnants of past meals. People thought that the cause of their problems lay in the resulting stench lingering about the city. The belief went that the pleasant scent of a pomander could repel the disease in the air.

Several recipes for pomanders survive from the era. To the base of ambergris, musk, civet, rose water, and other perfumes and spices were added. The mix would then be inserted into the pomander’s container. A pomander could be worn around the neck or waist. Many women attached them to their girdle.

Queen Elizabeth I holding gilded pomander attached to her waist. (

Both men and women wore pomanders, most of whom hailed from the elite classes of society. Queen Elizabeth I is frequently depicted wearing one, as are other nobles and notables of the day. People took great pride in their pomanders. Simple pomanders were made of wood, while the most stunning examples were worked in silver or gold, studded with precious stones, and etched with intricate designs. Some pomanders were divided into sections, similar to an orange, into which its wearer would place several different scents.

As time wore on, the pomander began to take on the “golden apple” interpretation. By the 18th century, a pomander was more often than not an orange studded with cloves and other spices. These made for popular gifts during Christmas and New Years. Many people make this type of pomander today in order to scent their homes and clothing.*

According to Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of the Seasons, “By the 17th and 18th century the decorated orange stuck with cloves was often mentioned as a Christmas or New Year’s custom. In his Christmas masque, Ben Jonson wrote, “He has an Orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in it.” A later description of New Year’s in England mentions children carrying pippins and oranges stuck with cloves in order to crave a blessing for their godfathers and godmothers. ”

Make A Clove Studded Orange

The following illustration was provided by Stephanie Locsei of To complete this project, you’ll need an orange, enough narrow ribbon to wrap twice around your orange and tie in a loop, and a jar of whole cloves.



easy to make christmas decorations clove orange instructions


Pomander history from : Pomanders History |

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Baked Apple Pudding

I am glad the new cook begins so well. Good Apple Pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.
Jane to Cassandra
17 October, 1815

In 1660 Robert May published The Accomplisht Cook, which became the most important cook book of it’s time. Robert was a professional chef who had trained in Paris. Catering to the aristocracy, he introduced many new recipes at a time when English cuisine was just beginning to borrow from the French.

One of his recipes, A Made Dish of Butter and Eggs, was gradually modified (the original called for 24 egg yolks!) into Marlborough Pie (or Marlborough Pudding), and taken to the new world by the pilgrims. This recipe soon became a Thanksgiving favorite and remains so, to this day. Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Sister in-law , kept a similar recipe in her Household Book.

A Baked Apple Pudding (with Pastry)
Take a dozen of pippens, pulp them through your cullender, take six eggs, sugar enough to make sweet, the rind of two lemons grated, a 1/4 of a lb of butter (melted with flour or water). Squeeze the juice of the two lemons, let the apples be cold before the ingredients are put together. Make a puff paste in the bottom of the dish, half an hour bakes it.

Martha Lloyd’s Household Book

Marlborough Pie
1 1/2 cup applesauce
3 Tbs. butter, melted
1 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon rind, grated
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Blend all ingredients thoroughly and pour into an unbaked pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake another hour until consistency of custard.

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Anna Austen’s Apple Snow

One can easily imagine the abundant fruit from Steventon’s gardens being used to create this light and airy dessert.

Elizabeth Raffald offers a similar dish in her book, The Experienced English Housekeeper, and closes with this final suggestion, “Lay it upon a china dish, and heap it up as high as you can, and set round it green knots of paste, in imitation of Chinese rails; stick a sprig of myrtle in the middle of the dish, and serve it up. It is a pretty corner dish for a large table.”

Apple Snow
Core and pare a lb of apples boil or steam them until tender and put them on a strainer to drain—add six oz of find loaf sugar and two whites of eggs whipt to a froth by itself—whip up the apples also separately them put altogether and whisk it up for a full hour until it looks like snow.
Martha Lloyd

3-4 medium sized Apples

80-120 ml / 4-6 oz / ½-¾ cup White Sugar

Two Egg Whites or Meringue Powder equivalent

Peel and core your apples and place them in a saucepan with 1 cup of water. Boil covered over a medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are very soft. Turn them out into a strainer to drain.

While your apples are boiling, whip two egg whites until stiff peaks form. Recently experts have begun to advise against
consuming raw eggs. For this reason, meringue powder maybe used instead. Follow the instructions on the package for the
equivalent of two egg whites.

Once your apples have drained, place them in a bowl and whip them until somewhat smooth, like applesauce. Stir in your
sugar—a little more or a little less depending on your taste—and fold in your egg whites.

You may wish to whip up the mixture again once you’ve added all the ingredients. This creates a light and fluffy dessert,
which does look like snow.

For a decorative touch, pipe the mixture into your serving dishes using a large tipped icing bag.

Serves 4


Excerpted from  Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends, by Laura Boyle.

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Georgian Christmas Celebrations

“I wish you a cheerful and at times even a
Merry Christmas.”

Jane Austen

Christmas in England, in the centuries prior to the Georgian kings, had become a dismal affair. In 1644 the holiday was banned by Oliver Cromwell, who called it “an extraeme forgetfulnesse of Christ, by giving liberty to carnall and sensual delights.” Instead, he had Parliament declare it a workday and required all merchants to be open for business. Carols were forbidden; anyone caught cooking a goose or baking a Christmas cake or boiling a pudding was in danger of fine, confiscation or worse. With the return of Charles II, the holiday was reinstated- but in a subdued manner. As the years passed it people remembered the rituals of their ancesters and added new ones of their own. By the 1800’s, it was once again a highly celebrated and significant time, though it wouldn’t reach it’s zenith until the Victorian era, when scholars sought to bring back old traditions and import new customs.

The Georgian Christmas season stretched from December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) to January 6th (Twelfth Night, Epiphany). The holiday was spent by the gentry in their country houses and estates, as they did not return to London until February*. It was a time of high celebration with visiting, gift and charity giving, balls, parties, masquerades, play acting, games and lots of food. Since families and friends were already gathered together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings.

The Austens were no exception to this and we know that they participated in these celebrations with alacrity. A Christmas Eve letter to Cassandra mentions Jane’s enjoyment in a ball held that week and a list of her charitable giving. Many of Jane’s plays written for the family survive, and in 1787, they staged a full length production which included cousins and friends. Her niece, Fanny’s, letters are full of descriptions of every kind of amusement held during the season. Continue reading Georgian Christmas Celebrations

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Black Butter

“The last hour, spent in yawning and shivering in a wide circle round the fire, was dull enough, but the tray had admirable success. The widgeon and the preserved ginger were as delicious as one could wish. But as to our black butter, do not decoy anybody to Southampton by such a lure, for it is all gone. The first pot was opened when Frank and Mary were here, and proved not at all what it ought to be; it was neither solid nor entirely sweet, and on seeing it Eliza remembered that Miss Austen had said she did not think it had been boiled enough. It was made, you know, when we were absent. Such being the event of the first pot, I would not save the second, and we therefore ate it in unpretending privacy; and though not what it ought to be, part of it was very good.”
Jane Austen to Cassandra
Castle Square, Tuesday (December 27, 1808)

Prefer to buy your Black Butter? Try Jersey Black Butter– a centuries old recipe!

Black Butter is based on a medieval “apple sauce” recipe. Through the centuries it was been adapted to fit current cooking practices and ingredients. Black Butter is a dark, sweet type of Apple Sauce. It can be spread on toast and biscuits or eaten by itself. The American version, Apple Butter, has been a national favorite for centuries.

Apples have been grown in England since Roman times. In the 16th and 17th centuries orchards were extensively planted in Kent. Apple growing was also well advanced in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Protection of the fruit market during the Napoleonic Wars and high tariffs on imported fruit after the wars led to an expansion of new orchard planting in the 1820s and 1830s.

Black Butter
Take 4 pounds of full ripe apples, and peel and core them. Meanwhile put into a pan 2 pints of sweet cider, and boil until it reduces by half. Put the apples, chopped small, to the cider. Cook slowly stirring frequently, until the fruit is tender, as you can crush beneath the back of a spoon. Then work the apple through a sieve, and return to the pan adding 1lb beaten (granulated) sugar and spices as following, 1 teaspoon clove well ground, 2 teaspoons cinnamon well ground, 1 saltspoon allspice well ground. Cook over low fire for about ¾ hour, stirring until mixture thickens and turns a rich brown. Pour the butter into into small clean jars, and cover with clarified butter when cold. Seal and keep for three months before using. By this time the butter will have turned almost black, and have a most delicious flavour.

Modern Equivalent:

6 lb cooking apples
3 cups sugar
8 c Apple cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
Or 6 (16 ounce) jars applesauce**
6 cups apple juice
8 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  1. Peel, quarter, and core the apples.
  2. Place the apples in large kettles of boiling water. Cook over medium heat until apples are tender, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook apple cider over high heat for about 30 minutes or till reduced by half.
  4. Drain*, sieve apples with food mill or potato masher.
  5. **Combine applesauce and reduced cider in large dutch oven or crock pot.
  6. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat.
  7. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir in sugar and spices. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat.
  9. Stir mixture from time to time and taste after a few hours. Add more sugar or spices if necessary.
  10. When apple mixture reaches the consistency of apple sauce, turn off heat.
  11. You can leave the apple butter with this textured consistency. If you prefer it smoother, process the hot mixture in a food processor for a minute or so.
  12. Spoon the apple butter into freezer containers or store it in the refrigerator. It keeps for three months.

*At this time you can place the apples in zipper-style freezer bags. Freeze apples until you are ready to make apple butter. Thaw apples before proceeding with recipe.

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