A Taste of Early America: Apple Pasties to Fry

Photo by Townsends

The Original Recipe

From E. Smith’s The Compleat Housewife (1742)

Pare and quarter Apples and boil them in Sugar and Water, and a stick of cinnamon, and when tender, put in a little white-wine, the juice of a lemon, a piece of fresh butter and a little ambergrease or orange-flower water: stir all together and when tis cold, put it in a Puff paste and fry them. Rub six pounds of butter into fourteen pounds of flour, put it to eights eggs, white the whites to snow and make it into a pretty stiff paste with cold water.

Modern-Day Recipe

Pastry Ingredients

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of shortening
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup of cold water, divided

Filling Ingredients

  • 8-10 tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Dash of orange flower water
  • Piece of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon of mace
  • Sugar, for sprinkling


  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening. Add the egg and 1/4 cup of water. Gradually add the remaining water, if needed, to make a soft pastry.
  2. Chill the pastry well.
  3. Roll out the pastry as thin as possible on a floured surface. Cut into rounds.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. To make the filling, cook the apples until they’re soft but not applesauce. Mix in the lemon juice, orange flower water, butter, flour, and all the spices.
  6. Fill the pastry rounds and fold, but don’t let the filling seep out. Moisten the edges of the pastry, then fold and crimp with a fork.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brown.
  8. Sprinkle with sugar and serve!