"Apples a la Manhattan" pre-dates (but has nothing to do with) "The Big Apple."
10 November 1895, New York Times, "Fine Dinners in New-York," pg. 21:
Pommes a la Manhattan.
Fourteenth Street and Fifth Avenue. Delmonico.
Oct.-Nov. 1897, Boston Cooking School Magazine, pg. 177, col. 1 (there is a photo with the recipe):
Apples a la Manhattan.
Core and pare eight medium-sized cooking-apples. Make ready some (col. 2) round pieces of sponge-cake -- one for each apples -- an inch in thickness, and of the same size as the apple. Make a syrup of a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Cook the apples very slowly in the syrup, turning them over once in the meantime, until they are tender, then drain very carefully. Sprinkle the bits of cake with powdered sugar, and set them in a moderate oven, until the sugar melts and runs over the cake. Put an apple on each bit of cake, a candied plum or cherry on each apple; and a half a glass of currant or quince-jelly to the syrup, and cook until it is quite thick: then pour over the whole, and serve either with or without a garnish of whipped cream.
20 February 1899, Fitchburg (Mass.) Daily Sentinel, pg. 7:
APPLES A LA MANHATTAN.
Core and pare eight medium-sized cooking apples. Make ready round pieces of sponge cake, one for each apple, an inch thick, and of the same diameter as the apple. Make a syrup of a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Cook the apples very slowly in the syrup, turning them once in the meantime, until they are tender; then drain very carefully. Dust the pieces of cake with sugar and set in a moderate oven until the sugar melts and runs over the cake. Put an apple on each piece of cake. Add half a glass of currant or quince jelly to the syrup and cook until it becomes smooth and thick; pour over the apples and cake and serve with or without whipped cream.
JANET M. HILL.