Apples have been grown at Ampleforth Abbey for well over one hundred years and monks today still provide the work force in what is England’s northernmost commercial orchard. Now, many of their famed recipes have been re-published in a mouth-watering book entitled Cooking Apples. The book was originally published in 1982, the brainchild of Fr Edmund Hatton OSB who looked after the orchards for nearly forty years. His successor in the orchard, fellow-monk Fr Rainer Verborg, has now re-published Cooking Apples with over one hundred recipes and many colour photos.
Cooking Apples is divided into four main sections, devoted to ‘Soups and Salads’, ‘Main Courses’, ‘Desserts’, and ‘Cakes and Baking’. Eager cooks can choose from a wide variety of tempting options: Twelfth Night Pie, Loin of Pork with Apples, Apple Roly Poly, St Stephen’s Pudding, with a Cider Sorbet to round things off and an Apple Upside-Down Cake for tea! For a monastic cookbook, there is even the interestingly-named Eve’s Pudding.
Cooking Apples was published with a grant from the Howardian Hills AONB Sustainable Development Fund and is available from the Ampleforth Abbey Bookshop, priced £9.99 (ISBN 9 780955 835711; Tel and Fax (01439) 766778 or www.ampleforth.org.uk/sales).
Monastic tradition has it that the Ampleforth orchard was first planted by Abbot Smith somewhere about 1900. Today, the Ampleforth orchards cover more than two hectares with some 2,000 trees and more than 40 varieties of apples, including Ribston Pippin, the oldest variety grown at Ampleforth and originating from a tree grown locally at Ribston Hall in the 17th century. Other varieties include Ashmead’s Kernal, Vista Bella and Beauty of Bath.