A couple of days ago I wrote about the August entry for the National Mark’s recipe suggestions in its little Calendar of Cooking book from the 1930’s. The writer of the piece, either Ambrose Heath or Dorothy Cottington Taylor who were the editors of the book, were very excited that fresh early season apples are now available, and suggesting that the ‘happy housewife’ should ask for varieties by name ‘What fun to develop a palate for them just as rich men attain a palate for wine!’ The apple they suggest is the Beauty of Bath, and coincidentally we visited that city today!
The Beauty of Bath apples are still available today, but they sound as if they would be more successful as a hone-grown fruit than a commercial one as they don’t keep very well and they bruise easily. They actually did originate in the city of Bath in the nineteenth century, first propagated by George Cooling in 1864, descended, if you can use that word, from Orange Pippins, those perennial favourites. In their favour as a home-grown apple, they are large, heavy croppers, and crop early so late July early August you could eating apples fresh from the tree!
Maybe because they are not commercially produced, or maybe my local shops just haven’t got any yet, I haven’t been able to try them. The trees have large leaves with a bluish tinge, pink blossom and the fruit are mostly red, and may have a stripy appearance and with a pink flush under the skin; they sound very attractive – as Mr Heath or Mrs Cottington Taylor remark, ‘a lovely name for a fine apple’.
Here is their recipe for cider cup, in which you could slice a couple of Beauties of Bath:
- 1 bottle of cider
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 pint of soda water
- a few slices of apple (or other fruit in season)
- 1 dessertspoonful sugar
- dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice
- put all the liquid ingredients in a large jug and chill for 2 hours before serving
- add the fruit, ice and serve (the recipe doesn’t say mint leaves, but I think they would be nice – especially if you have apple mint in your garden
Here is an interesting video from Stephen Hayes, which shows you about Beauty of Bath apples, and adds a little more history and information: