Within the Culinary Group, I’m known for my apple-based recipes. Sola (who was a beloved member of the group until she moved away) and her son call me “the apple lady.” I’m not really sure when it became a thing, but for the first six months or so of our meetings, I pretty much just made variations on apple pie.
My favourite period recipe for apple pie is Tartys in Applis. This beautiful, simple and delicious recipe for a tart-like apple pie comes from Forme of Cury, which is also my favourite period cookbook:
“For To Make Tartys In Applis. Tak gode Applys and gode Spycis and Figys and reysons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd wyth Safroun wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake wel.”
I really like this one because has a nice mix of fruit – apples, figs, raisins, and pears – with spices, and because it’s a recipe I interpret differently every single time I make it. It really shows the joys of the redaction process, and also that there’s a whole lot of ways that you could plausibly make something “right.”
When I look at this recipe, I can feasibly see a sort of apple and tart sauce mixture spooned out of a thick pastry coffin as being correct. I can also see a sort of shallow tart filled with finely chopped fruit being correct. I can see many different ways you might take the information contained in this recipe and roll with it, and that’s what I quite like about period recipes – they just let you get on with it. (Sometimes, at your peril!)
Play with this recipe and it will be kind to you. It’s one of those great flavour combinations which always seem to work out just fine. I feel like all SCA cooks should have a go-to apple pie recipe, since it seems like somebody always wants one!
has a really great redaction that you can use straight from page to pie, if you just want to make something tasty and don’t want to think about it too much.
This is my favourite tried-and-true way to put together this pie, though. The texture of the grated fruit is a little bit unusual, so if you don’t like it, that’s fine. Just chop your fruit up really small or in chunks or whatever makes your heart happy. Feel free to remove raisins or whatever you don’t like; the ghosts of King Richard II’s kitchen staff will not jump through your window in the night to punish you!
Tartys in Applis (Alice’s Saucy Tart)
4 tart baking apples (Granny Smith is good. If you absolutely HAVE to use a sweet apple, don’t add any sugar and add a little more lemon juice.)
3 pears (Bartlett or Anjou)
4 dried figs
1/2 cup raisins
1 T apple pie spice or powder douce
(if you have it)
2 T sugar
A few threads of saffron
1 egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 9″ pie crust (I’m much too lazy to make my own, but any basic short pastry is fine)
1. Peel your apples and pears.
2. Using a box grater, grate the apples and pears into a large bowl.
3. There will be a ridiculous amount of juice (trust me) so strain the grated fruit very well, pressing out excess moisture until it’s no longer dripping. Get rid of the juice (or drink it, it’s good for you!)
4. Return the fruit to the large bowl and add the lemon juice. Chop your figs very small and add them to the bowl with the grated fruit, along with the sugar and spices and a couple of the saffron threads. Mix together.
5. In a pot, gently cook your fruits and spices together until they are translucent and the spices are fragrant.
6. While the fruit is cooking, blind bake your pie crust based on your pastry’s cooking instructions.
7. Take your crust out of the oven, then spread the fruit mixture into the crust. Feel free to garnish with whatever makes you smile.
8. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk with a couple saffron threads. Brush all visible pie crust and the top of the pie with this mixture for a nice golden finish.
9. Bake for a further 20 minutes or so (depends on your pastry) to set the mixture and finish off the crust.
10. Serve warm or cool, preferably with a nice ice cream or dollop of ‘snowe.’
Until next time!
– Alice Percy