APPLE NACHOS! That is what you get when you combine two of your favorites and make a dessert!
Dessert was a novelty when I was growing up. We only had it on special occasions like birthdays and holidays and then it was normally the same things over and over. Cake, brownies, cookies… that is what I grew up eating and that is what I started baking. In fact, my chocolate chip cookies or Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies, as my family calls them, are one of my best going recipes. Anyone that tries them LOVES them. But, how many times do you make the same thing before it gets boring? It’s time to branch out! Don’t mean to another cookie recipe, I mean going in a whole new direction. Today, we are super excited to combine to favorites. Apple Nachos are the result. But first, I did a little research about the history of apples in dessert. Take a looksie!
A Sweet Journey Through History: Apples in Desserts
Desserts have been a cherished part of human culinary history for centuries, and few ingredients have played as crucial a role in dessert-making as the humble apple. Apples have been a staple fruit in many cultures around the world, and their versatility has made them a beloved addition to countless dessert recipes. In this blog post, we’ll take a delectable journey through time to explore the rich history of apples in desserts, from ancient civilizations to modern culinary innovations.
The history of apples in desserts dates back thousands of years. Apples are believed to have originated in the region of Kazakhstan and were cultivated by ancient civilizations in Asia and Europe. Early records show that apples were highly prized by the Greeks and Romans, who used them in various culinary applications, including desserts.
One of the earliest recorded apple desserts is the Roman dish known as “sapa,” which was made by boiling down apple juice to create a sweet syrup. Sapa was often drizzled over cakes and pastries, making it a precursor to modern apple pie and tarts.
As apples spread throughout Europe, they became a staple ingredient in medieval desserts. In the Middle Ages, apples were frequently used in pies, pastries, and puddings. One of the most famous medieval apple desserts was the “tart in ymbre day,” a pastry filled with apples, spices, and other ingredients. This dish laid the foundation for the modern apple tart.
During this period, apples were also preserved by drying them, creating a sweet treat that could be enjoyed year-round. These dried apples were often rehydrated and used in pies, cakes, and other desserts.
The Renaissance and Beyond
With the arrival of the Renaissance, culinary techniques and ingredients saw significant advancements. Apples continued to play a prominent role in desserts, especially in England, where apple pies and apple tarts gained popularity. Shakespeare even mentioned apple pies in his play “Titus Andronicus,” cementing their place in English culture.
In the 17th century, Dutch colonists brought apple trees to America, where apples flourished and became a staple crop. This period saw the emergence of the classic American apple pie, which quickly became an iconic dessert.
Apple pie’s deep roots in American culture can be traced back to the early days of colonial America. Apples were abundant and relatively easy to grow, making them a valuable resource for settlers. The combination of apples, sugar, and spices quickly became a beloved dessert.
One famous legend associated with apple pie is the saying, “as American as apple pie.” While the exact origin of this phrase is debated, it reflects the deep connection between apple pie and American identity.
19th Century and the Industrial Revolution
The 19th century brought significant changes to the world of desserts, including the widespread availability of pre-made pastry crusts and canned apple pie filling. These innovations made it easier for people to enjoy apple pie without the time-consuming process of making everything from scratch.
During this time, apple desserts also diversified. Apple crisps, cobblers, and dumplings gained popularity, offering variations on the classic apple pie theme. The incorporation of cinnamon and nutmeg became common, enhancing the flavor profile of apple-based desserts.
Apples in European Desserts
In Europe, apples continued to be a versatile ingredient in desserts. The French created the Tarte Tatin, a caramelized upside-down apple tart that is a testament to the fruit’s sweet potential. In Germany, Apfelstrudel became a beloved dessert, showcasing thinly sliced apples wrapped in flaky pastry.
Apples also made their way into British desserts like apple crumble, a warm and comforting dish made with baked apples and a crumbly topping. It remains a staple of British home cooking.
The Rise of Apple Varieties
As apple cultivation expanded, so did the variety of apples available for desserts. Different apple varieties offered varying levels of sweetness, tartness, and texture, allowing dessert makers to experiment with unique flavors and textures.
The Granny Smith apple, known for its tartness, became a popular choice for pies and tarts, while the Fuji apple’s sweetness made it a favorite for apple crisps and cobblers. The Honeycrisp apple, with its exceptional crispness, added a delightful texture to baked desserts.
Twentieth Century Innovations
The twentieth century witnessed further innovations in apple-based desserts. Frozen apple pies and apple turnovers became convenient options for busy households, and canned apple pie filling became a pantry staple.
With the advent of food processing technology, apple sauce and apple butter were mass-produced, offering new ways to incorporate apples into desserts. Apple sauce could be used as a fat replacement in baking, creating healthier dessert options.
Health Consciousness and Apple Desserts
In the latter part of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, a growing emphasis on health-conscious eating influenced the way apples were used in desserts. While classic apple pies and tarts remained popular, there was a shift towards lighter and healthier apple dessert options.
Apple slices with caramel dip became a favorite at parties and gatherings, offering a balance of sweetness and freshness. Baked apples stuffed with oats, nuts, and honey became a nutritious alternative to traditional apple pies.
Contemporary Apple Desserts
Today, apple desserts continue to evolve. Bakers and chefs around the world experiment with flavors and techniques to create innovative apple-based treats. Some contemporary apple desserts include:
1. Apple Galette: A rustic, free-form tart that showcases thinly sliced apples with various spices and sweeteners.
2. Apple Crisp: A simple yet satisfying dessert featuring baked apples topped with a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, and sugar.
3. Apple Sorbet: A refreshing and dairy-free dessert made from pureed apples, sugar, and lemon juice.
4. Apple Fritters: Deep-fried apple slices coated in a sweet batter, often dusted with powdered sugar.
5. Caramel Apple Cheesecake: Combining the classic flavors of caramel apples with creamy cheesecake, this dessert is a true indulgence.
6. Apple and Cranberry Bread Pudding: A delightful twist on traditional bread pudding, featuring apples, cranberries, and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
7. Apple Nachos: Keep reading to learn more!
The history of apples in desserts is a journey that spans centuries and continents. From ancient Roman sapa to modern caramel apple cheesecake, apples have remained a beloved and versatile ingredient in the world of sweet treats. Whether enjoyed in classic pies, innovative pastries, or healthier options, apples continue to inspire and delight dessert enthusiasts around the world. So the next time you savor a slice of warm apple pie, a spoonful of apple sorbet or dare I say ooey gooey apple nachos, remember the rich and delicious history that has brought this iconic fruit to your plate.
AND NOW for the pièce de résistance!
WHAT YOU NEED
WHAT YOU DO
Core and slice the apples. You don’t want the apple slices too thin or they won’t hold up
Warm up your caramel sauce and spoon it into a piping bag
Cut a small hole in the piping bag and drizzle caramel over the apple slices
Melt some Milk Chocolate and spoon it into a piping bag. Cut a small hole and drizzle the chocolate over the apples
- Chocolate (melted)
- Caramel (melted)
- Sprinkles (optional)
- Apple Corer
- Sharp Knife
- Core and slice the apples. You don't want the apple slices too thin or they won't hold up
- Warm up your caramel sauce and spoon it into a piping bag
- Cut a small hole in the piping bag and drizzle caramel over the apple slices
- Melt some Milk Chocolate and spoon it into a piping bag
- Cut a small hole in the piping bag and drizzle the chocolate over the apples