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Apple Amber

The festival of Halloween was commemorated by our National Bard, Robert Burns, in a splendid poem by that name. From his poem it is obvious that 18th century Scotland celebrated Halloween in fine fettle -

'Wi' merry sangs and frien'ly cracks
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery
Till buttered so'ens, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a steerin';
Syne wi' a social glass o' strunt
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that nicht.'

A must for any Halloween ploy is a turnip lantern, made from a large round turnip. From the top, cut off a thick slice - about a quarter of the whole - and scoop out the inside, taking care not to break the skin. The resulting "shell" should be as thin as possible, but a stump must be left at the bottom and hollowed out to serve as a socket for a candle. Carve on the "shell" a man-in the - moon face, or any devise that you wish eg skull and crossbones, and make two holes at the top to enable you to make a handle. The lantern when lit gives a soft luminous glow, and the carved face or design stands out clearly. A popular game at any Halloween Party is "Doukin fir Aipples" -  a modern reminder of a by-gone ordeal by water - a large tub of water is filled with apples and the master of ceremonies uses a spurtle ( representing a Druidic wand ) to keep the apples in constant motion. Each of the company kneels by the tub, in turn, and tries to seize an apple in their teeth without the aid of their hands. An alternative method of "catching" your apple is to have a chair placed with its back against the tub and to kneel on the chair and attempt to spear your apple. Any apple taken by mouth or fork is yours to eat! If you fail to catch your apple, never fear, for traditionally there is always an apple dish prepared for the company to consume. The Newington Institute SWRI supplied a splendid apple recipe - Apple Amber - to The Anniversary Cook-Book of the Dumfriesshire Federation SWRI 1922-1992 which we can all enjoy.

Apple Amber

Ingredients:  2oz melted butter;  3 or 4 lbs cooked apples;  1oz sugar;  2 eggs (separated);  thin slices of bread

Method:  Line pie-dish with bread, covered with butter.  Spread on cooked apples, put on beaten egg yolks.  Bake in moderate oven for 15 minutes.  Whisk egg white until stiff, fold in sugar.  Put on top and bake slowly.

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