apple tansey in a white dish, one slice being served

Historic Apple Tansey Recipe

This easy recipe dates to the colonial era and is grain and gluten free. It's lightly sweetened, so makes a perfectly suitable breakfast as well as an easy dessert.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 173 kcal
Author Claudie Evert


  • 3 apples cored and sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat the oven broiler.
  2. In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat on the stove top.

  3. Add apples and cook about 5 to 8 minutes, turning as needed, until slightly softened.
  4. Arrange apples as desired, remembering that the apple tansey will be flipped and the bottom will become the top. Once apples are arranged, allow to caramelize over the heat as you prepare the egg mixture.

    slices of apple in a cast iron pan
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, whipping cream, rose water, nutmeg, and sugar until smooth. Pour over apples and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges and bottom are set.
    egg custard in a glass bowl
  6. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook under the broiler an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the egg is completely cooked and top is lightly browned.

  7. Remove skillet from oven. Set a large, flat plate over the top of the skillet and carefully flip over to release the tansey onto the plate.

    cooked apple dessert
  8. Cut into slices and serve garnished with powdered sugar, coarse sugar, or lemon wedges.
    slice of apple dessert on a white plate

Recipe Notes

Vanilla extract can be substituted for the rose water but it will change the flavor of the apple tansey.