About Apple Desserts and Biodiversity
There’s no denying the popularity of apple desserts. It’s a topic of endless delight, and one we want to shout from the rooftops! As we mentioned in our healthy desserts blog, apples are rich in fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants such as Vitamin C. This is probably part of why there are many uses for apples in the dessert world. But before we dive into the desserts, let’s name some significant moments of the apple fruit and its desserts.
Bloomin’ Apple Roses
Apple’s Role in History
While apples are available year-round in North America, they’re not native there. Apples originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea. The former capital, Almaty, actually means “full of apples” of “Apple Mountain” and is thought to be the apple’s ancestral home. When North America was colonized, colonists brought over apple trees to grow on the land. It took about eight years for the trees to mature and bear fruits.
A bushel of crisp apples
Archeologists have found evidence of the use of apple desserts across ancient empires such as Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Vikings. The first documented apple pie actually came from the iconic English poet and author, Geoffrey Chaucer! He is known as the father of English Literature and wrote the timeless collection, The Canterbury Tales. Of course, we can say he is the father of apple pie as well, but he technically was only the first to write it down in English. It’s believed that in Chaucer’s medieval times, apple pie would have been a popular Christmas dessert, albeit with fewer spices than the recipe we’re used to today.
Countless Apple Desserts
In the midst of all of this apple talk, are you starting to feel hungry? We sure are! Apples are such an amazing canvas for desserts, so there is a massive amount to choose from. Let’s explore a sample of some of the most iconic and classic desserts with apples.
Traditional Apple Pie
Pies and Tarts
- Apple Pie – A dish with spices and apple filling baked in a pan and usually a bottom and top crust.
- Apple Tart – Now, how different is the apple tart from the pie? Tarts usually just have a bottom crust only.
- Dutch Apple Pie – Similar to a traditional apple pie, but baked in a Dutch oven and topped with a crumble.
- Caramel Apple Pie – A traditional apple pie with caramel filling or topping.
- French Apple Tart (Tarte Tatin) – Named after the Tatin sisters, apple tart is a caramelized fruit (usually apple) upside-down pie.
- Apple Crisp – An apple dessert with a sugar and cinnamon crumbly streusel topping.
- Crustless Apple Pie – Apple pie filling topped with a batter that seeps through the whole dessert.
- Apple Dumplings – Apples wrapped in dough and baked in cinnamon brown sugar sauce.
- Bloomin’ Apples – Spiced apple that is cut to resemble a flower and topped with ice cream.
- Brown Betty – Apple pie filling in a bowl with crumble. A traditional American dessert that was a favorite of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
- Cinnamon Baked Apples – Cored apples filled with buttery brown sugar cinnamon crumble and baked to perfection.
- Caramel Filled Apples – Cored apples filled with caramel and cut into slices.
- Candy Apples -Whole apples dipped in sweet liquid sauce such as chocolate or caramel – on a stick!
- Apple Juice/Smoothie – A popular juice from filtered apples or whole blended apples.
- Apple Cider – An alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink of unfiltered (and sometimes fermented) pressed apples.
- Ice Cider – A sweet and delicious alcoholic apple cider made from frozen apples.
- Apple Sparkling Water/Soda – A carbonated drink flavoured with apples or apple flavour.
- Apple Brandy (Calvados) – Apple brandy from Normandy, France, sometimes paired with pears.
- AppleJack – is a strong apple brandy made from Winesap apples.
- Apple Whisky – Apple whiskies come from a variety of apples. It was a product of convenience for the first North-American settlers, who had a hard time growing grain for whiskey.
- Applesauce cake – A coffee cake made with apple sauce and spices.
- Apple Cheesecake – Creamy cheesecakes topped with apples and sometimes some delicious caramel sauce.
- Apple Bundt Cake – Moist and delicious apple cake baked in the classic bundt shape!
- Apple Dump Cake – Similar to an apple cobbler but with cake batter instead of pie crust.
- Apple Coffee Cake – An apple cake with a brown sugar crumble on top and sometimes a caramel drizzle.
- Apple Muffins – Yummy and healthy muffins with an optional brown sugar topping.
- Apple Pound Loaf – Dense and velvety loaf with spices and apples and topped with an optional icing.
- Swedish Apple Cake (äppelkaka) – A mix of apple pie and apple cake – a cake with apple chunks atop a pie crust.
- Apple Cobbler – Apples covered in batter, biscuit, or dumpling, and baked to perfection.
- Apple Strudel – Grated apple in a pastry topped with ice cream.
- Apple Turnover – A spiced apple filling wrapped in pastry dough and baked like a pie.
- Apple Charlotte – Bread molded around apples cooked in spices and butter, and baked until crisp.
- Apple Pancakes – A healthy way to start the day.
- Apple Cider Doughnuts – Cake doughnuts that are often garnished with cinnamon sugar and accompanied by apple cider.
- Apple Nest – Crust built into a nest shape to hold delicious apple filling.
- Apple Cider Cookies – Cookies with apple cider prepared in the dough or on top in the icing – or both!
- Apple Granola Bars – A healthy and nourishing way to re-energize.
- Apple Crumble – Apple pie filling topped with the dry ingredients in dough.
Apple Varieties Worldwide
The hardest part of enjoying apple desserts is probably deciding on just which one to choose. There are over 7,000 apple species, each with its own distinct levels of sweetness, tartness, crunchiness, and juiciness. Thus, we have endless opportunities to combine.
There are so many fascinating stories about apples! Just consider the Swedish Åkerö apple, which can be traced as far back as the 15th century. This apple has a pink hue to its skin and flesh and tastes like raspberries! Or maybe take for example apples created in labs. The Ariane apple was developed at the National Institute of Agricultural Research, Angers, France, in 2002. This apple is especially pest-resistant to grow and has a mild and sweet taste, so is frequently used for some of the delicious desserts we’ve gone over today.
Unfortunately, it would be near impossible to taste all of the apple varieties in the world. The next best thing we can do is make sure we’re familiar with our locally grown species.
Common Ground and Apple Types
The UK charity, Common Ground, recognized the importance of biodiversity as well as the traceability of food. In 1990, they created “Apple Day” on October 21st to celebrate the many delicious types as well as the potential danger of losing them.
As the biggest fans of apples, they even produced Common Ground’s Apple Source Book. This book contains over 2,000 apple varieties grown in the British Isles. It was created to shed light on local orchards that were preserving apple diversity.
30 years after their first London event, Common Ground’s Apple Day celebrations continue around the world. They range from apple games in gardens to complete apple festivals. The festivities include cooking demonstrations, competitions, apple identification programs, and gardening advice. There’s also the enjoyment of apple juices, ciders, and, of course, apple desserts! Basically, anything apple and orchard related promotes the production and sale of locally distinctive apples.
We hope this has gotten your love for apple juices flowing! Why not join the festivities and bob for some apple desserts near you?