I had a few apples which were starting to get a bit soft so I decided to try a recipe for Apple Puffs (p. 253) in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. The recipe was contributed anonymously but it does suggest serving with pudding sauce. I decided to try the Lemon Sauce (p. 167) recipe submitted by Florence Cook.
If I’ve found the correct Florence Cook then she was still in her teens when she contributed this recipe. Based on the census, Florence E. Cook was 14 or 15 years old in 1906 since she was 11 in 1901. At that time she lived in Berlin with her parents and younger brother plus a 21 year old lodger named Annie Graser. They are of German heritage, Lutheran faith and Florence’s father is a brick layer. By 1911, Florence is still living with her parents and brother but her father is now fire chief and building inspector, she’s a stenographer in a leather factory and her brother is a bank clerk for the Bank of Toronto. They live on Church street in Berlin.
I stirred up the eggs before adding the milk and butter. I softened the butter enough so that it would mix more easily with the other ingredients. I stirred the baking powder into the flour. I used about 2 cups of flour to create a “moderately stiff batter”. I peeled two Northern Spy apples and chopped them into small pieces. I greased four cups (a mix of custard cups and mini souffle dishes) and put some batter in each so that it covered the bottom. Then I added chopped apples and then more batter, some more apples and then some batter. I didn’t use all the apples I’d prepared but I did need all the batter to fill the cups. I placed the cups in the steamer and let it boil for one hour. I added a little more water about half way through the cooking time. Once fully steamed I turned each cup over on serving plates and the apple puffs came out easily.
I made the lemon sauce while the apple puffs were steaming but almost ready. I pared the lemon peel and poured the boiling water over and covered the dish. I added cornstarch and sugar to a sauce pan and then poured the lemony water (minus the peel) over it. I stirred as it came to a boil and then removed it from the heat. I decided to add all the juice I could squeeze from the previously pared lemon and mixed. The sauce smelled wonderful.
I spooned some lemon sauce over the serving of apple puff and tasted. The combination of lemon and apple was really good. The apple puffs are essentially another steamed pudding. My serving was a little gummy since I think I got some of the steaming water into it. The simple apple flavour is nice but I really liked it with the lemon sauce. The plain apple puff is sugar free. A modern cook might want to add some additional flavouring such as cinnamon to the apple puff if serving it without sauce. I will make the lemon sauce again as it was delicious. The apple puffs were a bit stodgy. I think I’ll try them again but change the balance of apples and batter — I’ll use more apples than I did this time and ease up on the batter in each layer. I’d also like to try making the batter a little thinner so that it spreads more easily. Apple Puffs with Lemon Sauce is a good winter time dessert and would stick to the ribs of hardworking people in the new city of Berlin in 1912.
One teacup of sweet milk, 2 well beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and enough flour to make moderately stiff batter, Grease earthen cups and fill with alternate layers of finely sliced or chopped apples and batter. The top layer should be of batter. Set into a steamer and steam over boiling water one hour. Serve with hot pudding sauce.
1 lemon, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup boiling water, 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch. Pare the lemon, being careful not to take off any of the white part of the rind. Pour the boiling water over the parings, cover closely and steep 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch, sugar in a saucepan, stir in the steeped water and stir constantly until it boils. Remove from fire at once, add lemon juice. Serve hot.