Hands-On Canadian History: The Great Depression – Baked Apples Recipe

In the early 1930s, financial disaster struck, leaving many people unemployed and poor. Here in Canada, the poverty was compounded with a horrible drought in the prairies. It was during this time period that people especially learned the art of saving, reusing, and making due – even under the direst circumstances. We call that time “The Great Depression.”

Hands-On Canadian History: Great Depression Recipe

Make A Great Depression Recipe: Baked Apples

Many poverty-stricken families in the depression era had to make due with the foods they had in order to survive. They learned to stretch meals in creative ways and to make special treats that didn’t cost much money. This lady, Clara, was a wonderful woman whose grandson filmed her sharing meals her family ate during this period. (There are 2 seasons of videos on YouTube and she made a cookbook too before she passed away in 2013.) Here’s the video we used as inspiration to make our own baked apples.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Water


  1. Pre-heat the oven on to 350F.
  2. Core your apples. (This is the apple corer I have. *affiliate link*)
  3. Put a blob of butter in the bottom of the cored hole.
  4. Mix together some sugar and cinnamon and fill the hole with the mixture. Make sure it’s well filled!
  5. Put another blob of butter on the top.
  6. Place in an oven safe dish. Add some water to cover the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn.
  7. Bake until completely soft and cooked – probably longer than Clara mentioned in the video. 45 minutes wasn’t quite enough for us.
  8. Eat and enjoy!

These treats are warm and gooey, tasting very similar to apple pie, without the crust! It’s a sweet dessert that wouldn’t have cost too much in a time when people didn’t have much.

You can also try to plan meals for the week for your family on a very minimal budget, like they had to in the Great Depression. What foods will your family be able to eat?

See all 31 Days of  Hands-on Canadian History.

Lisa Marie Fletcher
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