Sour Apples and Sesame Snaps

Granny (Ramsey) Smith apples were “born” in Australia in 1868 when Maria Ann Smith discovered a new kind of apple, purely by chance, growing on her compost heap. The seedling (malus domestica x malus sylvestris) was growing happily in the humid almost subtropical climate of Sydney. In all probability there were some French crab apples stuck in wooden crates that she had bought at the Sydney markets, alternatively it was a wild one from New Zealand. There is, however, another theory that

seems highly unlikely – that she discovered the seedlings growing on a nearby rubbish dump. To my mind the theory lacks credibility because in the 1860’s there was little need to have rubbish dumps situated near the homes. She was a keen gardener who would have had a compost heap and so the first theory does seem to make more sense. She must have been an excellent marketer because their popularity spread like wild fire. More recently it’s been claimed that the apple could have been introduced by a botanist called Miles Ford in Illinois two years before Maria Ann did but until this claim has been officially verified, I’ll just stick with the one I have.




  • 500 g Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and quartered
  • 3 ½ lemons
  • 250 g superfine castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados (or a cognac)
  • Juice of 3 lemons* and ½ lemon plus peel of ½ lemon


  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • Lemon juice
  • Superfine castor sugar


  • Toss the apple quarters in the lemon juice (of 3 lemons) to prevent browning (make sure that you cover the apples completely by putting them in a Ziploc bag with the juice, extracting all the air and creating an airtight bag);
  • Freeze this overnight;
  • Combine the sugar, 250 water and dissolve in a heavy-based pot, bringing it to boil;
  • Remove the syrup from heat, refrigerate until ice cold;
  • Put the frozen apples, sugar syrup, calvados and the juice from the half lemon into a food processor and blend until it is a smooth puree;
  • Check and correct the taste (if it is too sweet, add more lemon juice and vice versa);
  • Churn in an ice cream machine and freeze or put into the freezer in a flat metal tray and whisk every two hours until it is smooth and frozen.
  • I use the latter method and it works well.


  • Pre-heat the oven to about 70 C
  • Line and grease flat baking tray with baking paper
  • Use mandolin or vegetable slicer to slice the apple into very thin, attractive slices
  • Brush apple on both sides with the lemon juice and lay flat on the tray, ensuring that none of them overlap
  • Dust on both sides with the sugar
  • Dry in oven until the slices are very crisp
  • Cool and keep for a day or two

There’s an annual Granny Smith Festival in Eastwood New South Wales at the end of October & it’s great fun! I spent a year in Australia as an exchange student and had the good fortune to attend it, if you’re ever around, make a point of going. Despite the fact that Sydney’s weather isn’t exactly perfect for apple growing, this apple thrived whilst other cultivars had a hell of a time; nowadays the apples aren’t grown commercially here.



  • 80 g superfine castor sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 40 g plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 40 g sesame seeds
  • 40 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped glacé ginger


  • Mix sugar, orange zest and orange juice together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and the ground ginger after which you add the sesame seeds.
  • Make a well in the centre and stir in the melted butter and then the orange juice mixture, combine well.
  • Lastly add in the glacé ginger.
  • Refrigerate for one hour before using.


  • Preheat oven to 170 C
  • Draw 3 circles on a sheet of baking paper, repeat on another baking tray.
  • Now you have six.
  • Using a knife, mark out triangles to assist with the wafers afterwards
  • Using a spatula, smear a thin layer of the wafer mixture on each circle and bake for 7 – 10 minutes until each one is golden in colour.
  • Allow sheets of baking paper to cool on a wire rack.
  • Now continue like this until the mixture has been used up completely.
  • Serve scoops of ice cream with apple crisps and sesame wafers.
  • Enjoy in the sun with a good shot of Calvados.

7 thoughts on “Sour Apples and Sesame Snaps

  1. Oh my, Green Apple Sorbet!!! That looks fantastic! Wow. I bought an ice cream maker recently and this recipe is now on my “must make” list. Thanks for sharing this one and the background information on Granny Smith, it was quite interesting. But then again, all of your posts are interesting. :)

  2. None of this information about history is correct….1968/ then 1800s.. No , my daughter even knows the history as we lived nearby Ryde, Australia and she entered the Granny Smith Contest. She even won awards as a young girl. So, I cam send you correct info.

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