Local Isle of Wight writer James Rayner uncovers the Island’s forgotten culinary heritage in his comprehensive book, Historic Isle of Wight Food. His book takes a tour of the lost world of Isle of Wight food, bringing to life the forgotten elements that characterised the Island’s regional cuisine in centuries past, from foraged fruit wine to samphire and sand sprats. Here he shares some special Isle of Wight recipes with us…
Apple Stucklens were a small pastry filled with sliced apples and baked without a dish. The most common form seems to have been similar to an apple turnover but semicircular in shape (like a small Cornish pasty) and filled with sliced apples and sugar. They’re mentioned in a few novels by local author Maxwell Gray (1846 – 1923), who describes how they were taken into the fields by farm workers at harvest time.
Apple Stucklens Recipe
375g shortcrust pastry
3 medium apples (sliced, peeled and cored)
75g of light brown sugar or golden caster sugar
25g of unsalted butter
The zest of a lemon
Cinnamon (to taste)
Whole milk for glazing
Vlitters, also known as bletters or flitters, were a type of small pancake. They were not as thin or wide as a crêpe and probably more closely resembled Scotch pancakes or the Welsh crempog pancakes. On Shrove Tuesday, if households on the Island ran out of Shrove Cakes to give to the singers going door to door, then these pancakes or doughnuts were often given instead.
As with many of the Island’s historic foods, it seems no recipe has survived, so the following is a recreation of what they might have looked like.
Vlitter Pancake Recipe
225g self-raising flour, sifted
250ml whole milk
25g caster sugar
40g butter, melted
1 medium egg
2 tsp vegetable oil
An ancient milk-based dessert, a bit like panna cotta, said to take its name from the French word ‘jonquette’. It has existed in Britain since at least the medieval period and still has strong associations with the West Country. The Isle of Wight was supposedly renowned for its junkets, which were typically covered in an inch-thick layer of clotted cream. Historically they were served in a large ceramic bowl known as a ‘basin’ and often eaten with a scattering of fresh fruit. For a more up-to-date version, try swapping the brandy for a splash of rum instead.
Serves 4 – 5
500 ml of whole milk (preferably from Jersey or Guernsey cattle)
Flavouring such as 1⁄2 tbsp brandy or 1⁄2 tsp. orange
flower or rosewater (optional)
1 tbsp. caster sugar (optional)
1 tsp. liquid vegetarian rennet
Nutmeg or cinnamon to dust
ℹ️ Born on the Isle of Wight, James studied language and literature at the University of Iceland and University of Malmö in Sweden and now writes as a freelancer, specialising in food, travel and history. More recipes from the Isle of Wight (and around the globe!) can be found on James Rayner’s blog, or you can purchase a copy of the recipe book from one of Wightlink’s cafes and from Medina Bookshop online.