Sunday, September 15, 2013

Applemuse - A Renaissance Apple Curd

Yesterday there was a tournament for the medieval/renaissance group I belong to. There was a cooking contest for apple based recipes. There were two divisions, one for documentably pre-17th century dishes, and one for modern or undocumented recipes. I wanted to enter, so started poking around in early cookbooks, looking for something interesting but not too complex. As it turned out, something that could sit around awhile was also a criterion, as we had to turn in our dishes by 11:30, but judging wasn't until 2.

I found an interesting one in A Propre new booke of Cokery,  a renaissance English cookbook first published in 1545. If you have been reading the blog, you know I've been playing with curds for a while now. As soon as I started reading the recipe for applemuse, I recognized it as a curd.

The ingredients were mostly straight forward, with a couple of curves for those unfamiliar with pre-17th century cooking. It involved cooking apple pulp with butter, egg yolks, and flavorings in a pan until thickened. Butter was not something I have previously used in a curd, but I have seen it in some recipes.

The flavorings were ginger and cinnamon, common spices with apples, and rosewater. Rosewater may seem a curve ball to modern cooks, as it is rarely used currently in American or European cooking. It is still used in some Middle Eastern dishes, and it was a very common seasoning in medieval and renaissance cookery. It adds a nice floral note, if used carefully. Overdone, it can make food taste like soap.


6 granny smith apples
4 ounces butter
2 egg yolks
¾ cup cane sugar
3 teaspoons rosewater
1 teaspoon finely minced candied ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt

Place apples on a baking sheet in a 35o F oven for 2o minutes, or until skins split and flesh is soft.

Remove from oven, allow to cool. Force flesh through a strainer.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add apple puree, sugar, rosewater, egg yolks, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Place in a vessel to cool. Cover top of curd with plastic wrap so that a skin doesn't form. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Happy eating!


  1. I have enjoyed making and eating curds for many years. I have not seen a recipe for apple curd until now. I will add this to my "to try" list! Thank you!

  2. This looks delicious! I'm going to have to try it.