The Mother of Thanksgiving and Her 1863 Apple Pudding


SHE WAS A WOMAN OF HER TIME AND AHEAD OF HER TIME.

Sarah Josepha Hale was born in 1788 and, in spite of the era, became a self-taught professional woman, a writer, poet and editor, advocating education and professional work for women. But she was also a creature of her time. When her husband died at age 34, just two months before the birth of their fifth child, she donned mourning black and never again took it off. She didn’t believe women should have the vote, but should remain the secret and silent influencer of the male vote. But her influence on culture was far from secret or silent. In fact, Hale became a vocal supporter of a national Thanksgiving. For 17 years she wrote letters to five presidents about the idea. She wrote books and articles recounting New England Thanksgivings. In 1863, she finally caught the ear of President Abraham Lincoln, convincing him that a national day of thanks might bring the war-torn country together. Besides writing books and editing an influential women’s magazine, Hale also promoted Thanksgiving through cookbooks.

Here we offer one of her desserts, courtesy of Tori Avey at toriavey.com.

 

Thanksgiving Apple Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 6 very large green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into slices
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2  9-inch uncooked pie crusts or 9-inch round puff pastry crusts

 

Instructions:

  • Fill medium sauce pan with 6 tablespoons of water. Put in sliced apples and the lemon peels.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let the apples cook for 25-30 minutes till very soft. Remove the lemon peels from the pot and mash the apples while they’re hot until they have the consistency of applesauce.
  • Pour the mashed apples into a mixing bowl and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, beaten eggs, heavy whipping cream, and lemon juice. Reserve filling.
  • Line 2 pie dishes or pans with the 2 uncooked crusts.
  • Pour half of the apple pudding into each crust to make two puddings.
  • To make the crust a golden brown color, whisk together 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush a thin layer of the egg wash onto the visible edge of the pie crust.
  • Place the puddings into the oven and bake for 80-90 minutes, or until the pudding no longer wiggles in the center and is browning in places around the outer edge of the crust.
  • You don’t want to undercook the pudding, or it will turn out mushy. If in doubt, err on the side of cooking longer. Cover just the crust with foil if it is browning too fast.
  • Allow pudding to cool before serving.