A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Apple Muse

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A dish of blended apples, almond milk, and honey


.lxxix. Apple Muse.---Take Appelys an sethe hem, an Serge hem þorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; þanne take Almaunde Mylke & Hony, an caste þer-to, an gratid Brede, Safroun, Saunderys, & Salt a lytil, & caste all in þe potte & lete hem sethe; & loke þat þou stere it wyl, & serue it forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888. 


Take apples an boil them, and pass it through a strainer into a pot; than take almond milk & honey, and add, and grated bread, saffron, sandalwood, & a little salt, & put all in a pot & let it boil; & see that you stir it well, & serve it forth.


Unfortunately, this section of the recipe is still under construction. It is my belief, though, that any decent cook can prepare this dish by following the instructions, sans measurements, below.

  • apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • Almond Milk
  • honey
  • unseasoned bread crumbs
  • few threads saffron
  • red food coloring
  • salt
Boil the apples until very soft; drain. Mash the apples (by hand or with a food processor) until completely smooth. Place the apples in a large soup pot, and blend in the almond milk, honey, bread crumbs, spices, & food coloring. Cook on low, stirring every few minutes, until the potage is completely hot and has thickened to desired consistency (add more bread crumbs as necessary). Serve.

This is a pottage, a thick, blended dish that could be made from dozens of different ingredients in dozens of different ways. Pottages were very popular & quite common in Medieval cookbooks; Apple Muse comes from a manuscript entitled Potage Dyvers (Various Pottages). This particular pottage can be made as thick as a pudding or as thin as a thick soup, and can also be served either hot or cold (although the original receipt has it served just after being cooked).

Saunders, or sandalwood, was used as a red food coloring in Medieval cooking. Since the product is grainy and does not have an appealing taste, red food dye is an appropriate substitute. Keep in mind that the final coloring should be red, not pink!

As saffron is a particularly expensive spice, you may wish to substitute by using a small amount of yellow food coloring, or simply leave the ingredient out of the recipe, as it will not be overly missed.

Feel free to garnish with Pouder Douce, a common Medieval spice mixture containing sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Apple Muse © 2000 James L. Matterer

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