Do you have a Recipe for Damson and Apple Tansy

This is a traditional Northern English recipe that originates in the beautiful Lake District.

It takes its name from a bitter-sweet herb called tansy that has been used since the middle ages. Recipes like custards and mousses often contained this herb and so were called ‘tansies’. Tansy was included in foods because of it helped aid digestion however it is not now used in cooking because of its high level of toxicity , it is toxic when eaten and when preparing it.  The flavour in this dessert from the different spices is intended to replicate the flavour without adding any toxins.

This Cumbrian dessert with its combination of sweet and sharp flavours uses the great British variety of apple, the Cox apple; traditionally the damsons that were used were the ‘Witherslack’ damsons which grow on the southern shores of Lake Windermere.

This is a perfect autumn recipe when the Cox’s apples and the damsons are plentiful on the trees.


Serves 4

This sweet/tart combination with Cox’s apples traditionally used the Witherslack damsons which grow south of Lake Windermere.

2 large Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and sliced
225g damsons, cut in half and pitted
25g butter
50g brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs, separated
Crème frais, cream or yogurt to serve.

1. Put the apples, damsons, butter and half the brown sugar into a large frying pan (skillet)

2. Cook over a low heat, until the fruit is softened, stirring all the time.

3. Stir in the spices and then remove from the heat.

4. Beat the egg yolks and stir into the fruit.

5. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and then carefully fold into the fruit mixture with a metal spoon.

6. Cook over a very low heat until the mixture has set.

7. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the top.

8. Place under a hot grill (broiler) and brown the top of the dessert.

9. Serve immediately with crème frais, cream or yogurt.

This makes a delicious and very unique dessert and is bound to be a talking point with your guests.

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