An Apple a Day
Apples have always been an important part of Pennsylvania Dutch
cooking. In the early days, the custom of drying sliced apples for use
later in the year resulted in some unique dishes. These dried apples
slices (apple snitz or schnitz) are still used to make snitz pies and
"schnitz un gnepp." The latter consists of dough dumplings
cooked with home-cured ham. One secret to using snitz is to let the slices
soak in water overnight.
Fresh apples are popular for making applesauce, apple cider, and apple
pies, of course. But a local favorite is apple dumplings. Noted historian
John Joseph Stoudt states that "compared to the English, Penn Dutch
cooks were poor pudding makers. Rather, they disguised fruit in many ways.
Dumplings were much favored, combining the German tradition of the
dumpling with the love of the fruit."
Today, you’ll find apple dumplings in season at bakeshops and
roadside stands. The apples are peeled and cored, wrapped in thick dough,
and baked. They are best when served warm with milk or ice cream. Some
people eat them for breakfast, while others find them a hearty dessert or
snack later in the day.
No discussion of apples would be complete without mentioning "lattwaerrich,"
or apple butter. This delicious spread for bread and toast came from the
Palatinate area of Germany, where prunes and pears were also used. Here,
the traditional way of making apple butter was in large copper kettles
filled with apple cider. Apple snitz was added to the mix, and the kettle
had to be stirred continuously to prevent sticking to the bottom.
Long-handled wooden paddles were used for this purpose so that the cook
would not have to stand so close to the heat of the fire. Often the long
process of making apple butter became a family party or neighborhood
By the way, the true Pennsylvania Dutchman loves to put apple butter on
cottage cheese. Some of us even pile both of them onto a slice of homemade
bread, often to the surprise of visiting friends. Why not give it a try
and spread the tradition of delicious apple butter?!
Amish Country News
Article by Brad Igou
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