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Colonial Virginia Recipe for Apple Tansey

Colonial Virginia Recipe: Apple Tansey

Virginia is known for its many apple orchards and delicious apples. Apple tansey is a traditional dish that was popular among colonial Virginians, the first English settlers of Virginia. The recipe has been passed down through generations and is still a Virginia favorite today. Follow the directions and make this Virginia classic for yourself!

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Apple Tansey

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 8


  • 2 large apples *
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon


  1. Core the apples and cut them into thin round slices.
  2. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the apple slices to the skillet and fry them evenly on both sides until their edges begin to brown.
  4. In a bowl, use a whisk to beat the eggs together with the cream, flour, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the apples.
  6. Cook in the skillet for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
  7. Using a spatula, flip the tansey over like an omelet. Cook for another five minutes so that both the bottom and top are brown.
  8. Transfer the tansey to a large, flat plate.
  9. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice over the apple tansey.
  10. Serve warm and enjoy!


* Although any type of apple can be used to make apple tansey, the recipe traditionally calls for Newtown Pippin apples because these apples were common in colonial Virginia. They are firm, light green apples with a very tart taste. Jonagolds and Granny Smith apples are also tart and firm and make great Newtown Pippin substitutes.

Fun Fact: Before the 1800s, rosewater was a popular ingredient found in many recipes. Today, vanilla has become more common and has replaced rosewater in most recipes. Both rosewater and vanilla taste great when used in apple tansey!

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