Apple Snow – 1880s

This recipe comes from Mrs. Rorer’s Philadelphia Cookbook, a small unassuming brown book that I had grown used to seeing on my grandmother’s basement bookshelf. Only years later, after I had inherited boxes of those same books, did I sit down and begin to appreciate the coolness of it.

Originally published in 1886, it’s full of strange and wonderful recipes. The pistachio ice cream, for example, uses clover for green coloring. Should you find yourself without clover, lawn grass may be substituted. There are even beautiful, handwritten recipes scattered throughout.


See? It’s the coolest.

This recipe for Apple Snow results in a simple yet satisfying, easy to make dessert. It only takes around 15 minutes, including prep time, and the finished dessert is a light, fluffy, barely sweetened bowl of apple flavored fluff. 

Apple Snow Recipe

makes 6 servings  –  prep time: 15 minutes


  • 6 good-sized apples
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Whites of six eggs

Pare, core and steam the apples until tender, then press them through a sieve and put aside to cool; when cold, add the sugar and lemon juice. Beat the whites of the eggs to a very stiff froth, and add the apples to them by large spoonfuls, beating all the while. Serve immediately, in glasses.

Now, I went fully old school with this one. I pressed the apples through a sieve, as per the instructions, and beat the eggs in a copper bowl, rather than use a hand mixer.

To me, there is something inherently wonderful about making such a simple recipe as it was originally intended. Unlike the whir of the electric mixer, the metal-on-metal of the whisk and copper forms a sort of tenuous thread backwards in time. It’s easy to imagine a cook whipping up such a recipe in the kitchen of a fine Victorian home around the turn of the century. 

14 thoughts on “Apple Snow – 1880s

  1. Thank you for this recipe! My grandmother, born in 1899, used to make this for me when I was a child. I loved it but could never remember how she made it. Now, I’ll make this for my own grandchildren!

    • How wonderful! I’m so glad to have been able to help you reconnect with a lost family recipe! Please let me know if you have any similarly longed-for old recipes that I should keep an eye out for. 🙂

      • My grandmother used to make a rye bread pudding with raspberry jam that was to die for. No one knows how she made it or what she put in it. We figure it was maybe a take – or maybe a direct – on something her German/Polish mother made. If you’ve got any old Jewish cookbooks lying around, please have a look. My Mom refers to it to this day as “my mother’s rye bread pudding of blessed memory.”

  2. Oooh! I love vintage cookbooks…and though I don’t really own any, except the one my mother inherited which she promises will be mine someday. I love to browse through them when I visit old book-stores.

    • They’re so much fun to browse through! It’s fascinating to see how cooking has changed over time by looking at the evolution of cookbooks. What’s your mom’s highly guarded cookbook of choice?

    • It’s great on its own! It’s so light and fluffy that I think it might not hold up well on top of something like a cake. Now, a little cake on the side is never a bad thing… 🙂

  3. My Mom also made this but she used raw apples grated and it worked well.. I also made this when I was a young girl at home , and I am making it today …… for a square dance refreshment tonight ……. with chocolate cake that is how we served it also on jello … or pudding … we loved it as children ….. thought it was a Canadian recipe but it is not it is and English recipe …… I believe ….. my Grandmother also made this and she lived in Canada in an all English town she was the only French speaking family there ….. a town of about 50 people ……..

  4. As a student nurse in 1960 we were taught cooking for ‘delicate’ patients! Apple Snow was my favourite. Forgot all about it until I was given some apples today and when asked what I was going to make Apple Snow came to mind and I even remembered the recipe. That was 56 years ago so I was pleased to find so many variations on the ‘net’ but yours is the authentic one. Many thanks. E

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