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Spinage Toasts

Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home

This recipe is tasty yet unusual for the modern palate. The unexpected spinach and apple combination complement each other wonderfully. These toasts might work for an appetizer or a light lunch. It’s great as a side dish with pork, lamb, or even beef.

18th Century

PICK your Spinage well, wash it, blanch it off in boiling Water for a quarter of an Hour; then strain it out, and squeeze it well from the Water, and mince it very fine, then put it into a Stone-mortar with three or four Spoonfuls of Apples boil’d to a Marmalade; the Yolks of four Eggs boil’d hard, three raw Eggs, and a couple of coarse Biskets soaked in Cream, season’d with Salt and Sugar; beat these well together, then put it into a Dish, and mix with a good Handful of Currans, pick’d and wash’d, and three or four Spoonfuls of melted Butter; then cut handsome Toasts about half an Inch thick, four Inches long, and two broad, and spread your Spinage, &c. on them half an Inch thick; wet it over with the White of an Egg, butter the Bottom of a Mazarine-dish, or Patty-pan; lay your Toasts in, and bake them, they will be done in half an Hour; scrape a little Nutmeg, and squeeze a little Orange on them; serve up half a dozen upon a Plate for a Supper, or second Course.

— Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Art. 138.

21st Century


  • 1 lb. spinach leaves
  • 2 oz. fresh currants, or dried currants plumped in warm water and drained
  • 1 medium sweet apple
  • 4 egg yolks, hard boiled (optional)
  • 2 small sponge cakes (cupcake size)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 medium bread rolls (a little smaller than a fist)
  • 1 cup cream (you may substitute skim milk or low-fat cream)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 to 3 egg whites, whipped to a froth
  • 1 and 1/8 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 medium orange


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. In a bowl, break up sponge cakes and cover them with cream, salt, and 1/8 Tbsp. sugar. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Boil spinach 4 to 5 minutes. Strain and let cool. Chop into small pieces.
  4. Peel, core, and chop the apple very small. In small pan, mix apple with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Cook over medium heat to make a small amount of apple marmalade. Set aside.
  5. Separate the hard-boiled egg yolks from whites. Mince yolks and set aside. (Use the whites for another purpose.)
  6. When sponge cakes have become mushy, add currants, apple marmalade, chopped spinach, minced egg yolk, and melted butter. Mix very well.
  7. Slice rolls and toast them under the broiler. Spread spinach mixture on top of each slice and place in an oven-safe dish.
  8. Spread frothed egg whites thinly over each spinach-topped toast and bake in 300°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until frothed egg whites are golden.
  9. Remove from oven. Sprinkle nutmeg and drizzle orange juice over each toast. Serve.

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