This recipe is more usually served in the late summer and autumn months, but I’ve chosen it now because the weather outside today has carpeted the garden with a thick layer of snow.
This is a classic dessert whose provenance stretches back centuries. Although the name ‘Apple Snow’ is the one more usually found in modern recipe books, it can also be found under the name Apple Fluff, Apple Souffle, Apple Puff and this version, Apple Cream Without Cream.
This last was found in a manuscript from the 17th century, held by The Wellcome Library. The manuscript has been attributed to the splendidly named Mrs Deborah Haddock, who sounds as if she should be the twinkly-eyed star of stories set in a small, quaint fishing village.
It is elegant in its simplicity, requiring only apple pulp, an egg-white and a little sugar. It is also, thanks to modern kitchen gadgetry, prepared incredibly swiftly, requiring less than ten minutes to come together before serving, once the initial preparation has been completed.
Choice of Fruit
This recipe can be made with any apple you have to hand, either keeping a purity of flavour with a single variety, or mixing and matching in a clearing-out-the-fruit-bowl, waste-not-want-not kind of way.
One of the manuscript recipes I read recommended green apples as being the best, but failed to elaborate any identifying characteristics beyond colour. I prefer to use Bramley apples, for the pale insides and sharpness of taste. Other varieties you might like to try include Worcester Pearmains, which have dazzlingly white flesh that tastes faintly of lemon and rough-skinned Russets that have an almost nutty flavour.
Alternatively, you could follow the recommendation in the recipe above and try this with gooseberries.
This recipe tweaks the original slightly with additions found in other versions. In terms of quantity, it will make a visually impressive amount, but is so light and delicate, a full glass is still only a relatively small amount. It will hold its shape for two hours or so, but can be mounded in more impressive heights if served immediately after preparation.
Serves 4 – 8
5 Bramley apples, or apple of your choice.
juice of 1 lemon
2tbs cream sherry (optional)
4tbs caster sugar
1 large egg-white
- Peel, core and chop the apples finely. Toss them in the lemon juice as you go, to prevent them from discolouring.
- Add the apple and lemon juice to a saucepan with the sherry, if using.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the apples soften and turn to froth.
- Mash the apples to a pulp, then sieve to remove all lumps. Chill until required.
- Whisk the egg-white until it will stand in soft peaks. Set aside.
- Put 250ml chilled apple pulp into a bowl and whisk on High for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the whisked egg-white and continue whisking, adding in the sugar one spoonful at a time.
- After 2-3 minutes the mixture will have both increased in volume and become dazzlingly white.
- Taste and whisk in more sugar if needed.
- Spoon or pipe into glasses and serve with some crisp biscuits on the side.
- If you have apple pulp spare, you could spoon a little of it into the glasses before adding the apple snow.