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From graft to apple pie: everything you want to know about the apple tree

We have a newcomer to Treemore this spring. The source of the Dutch people's favourite fruit [1]: the malus domestica 'Elstar', or the apple tree! The apple tree is packed with meaning: from eternal youth, fertility and beauty, to carrier of knowledge of good and evil. In this blog we will tell you more about this special tree and its delicious fruit.


From myth to vital

The apple has a centuries-long history and is surrounded by various myths. In the Bible it was a forbidden fruit eaten by Eve and the apple tree is described as a carrier of knowledge of good and evil. And who does not know the fairy tale of Snow White, who takes a bite of a poisoned apple? The apple also plays a role in Greek mythology: the Trojan War for is said to have started because of an apple. The English saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' does not come out of the blue either: apples contain few calories and are packed with healthy bioactive substances, vitamins, nutrients and minerals. In addition, apples consist of almost 85% water: the Dutch saying 'an apple for the thirst' is certainly not nonsense.


The wild apple is thought to have traveled to Europe from the Tian-Shan Mountains in Asia via the Silk Road. About 10,000 years ago, after many crossings, the domesticated apple as we know it was developed: the edible apple. There are now more than 7,000 varieties of the apple. Each with its own and unique flavour profile, all created by crossing and selection. It is remarkable that one type of fruit can produce so many different flavours. Few other fruits have as much diversity as the apple.



A Dutch favourite

To give apples the characteristic taste of their varieties, apple trees are propagated by grafting. This means that a twig of the desired apple type is 'glued' to a rootstock of a type with strong roots. This way you are assured of the type of apples that will grow on the tree. This happened recently with our trees and you can still see it clearly: the point where the tree is grafted has a layer of wax to protect the 'wound'.


The variety that we have included in our range as a baby graft is the Elstar. This apple variety is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Ingrid Marie apple. It is even the most cultivated apple variety in the Netherlands. The Elstar is a juicy and sweet apple with slightly sour hues and is delicious as to eat directly ook to cook with. The fruit is mostly red on the sun side, with yellow-green hues on the rest of the skin. The great taste of the fruit, but especially the gracefulness of this tree species, makes it an asset for every fruit lover.


Homegrown apples

Apples naturally grow on a tree, and what a tree! The apple tree may not be as impressive in size as our sequoias, but its beautiful annual transformation makes it a different showpiece every season! From bare and gnarled in winter to fairytale light pink in spring, fresh green in summer to ripe red in autumn. The process from blossom to apple is great fun to watch, and even more fun when you start with one of our baby trees. It will flower in the second year and may even produce the first few apples. The Elstar is a self-pollinating variety that does not need a second apple tree to make apples.


If you put your tree right in the ground, then you don't have to worry about it much anymore! Prune only if the tree becomes larger than you want or if the number of new branches becomes too many. Watering is necessary in the first years, especially in dry periods. If your tree is in less nutrient-rich soil, give it some compost now and then and it will thank you very much. Start today and it will reward you with apples every year in September and October. Order this great original letterbox gift today and you are assured of an annual invitation for coffee with apple pie. We give you the recipe below.



Calssic apple pie

Apple pie with apples from your own garden! It is not without reason that the Elstar is the most commonly used apple for Dutch apple pie. The fresh-sweet and crunchy character ensures a tasty bite. The great advantage of the Elstar is that the apple releases little moisture during baking, so that the bottom bakes nicely crispy. Below we give you our favourite recipe from Heelhollandbakt.nl [2]:


Ingredients

Dough

  • 200 grams soft butter (plus extra for greasing)

  • 160 grams brown sugar

  • 0.5 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)

  • 300 grams white flour

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 egg

  • breadcrumbs for dusting

apple filling

  • 100 grams of raisins

  • rum

  • 8 pieces Jonagold apples

  • 100 grams of shelled walnuts

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 packet of vanilla-flavored sugar

  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Compose

  • 1 egg for brushing

  • 25 white almonds

  • powdered sugar

Preparation

  • Grease a 24cm diameter springform pan and dust with flour.

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Dough

  • Mix the soft butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

  • Sift the flour with a pinch of salt over the butter mixture and add 1 egg.

  • Knead into a smooth dough and let rest covered in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

  • Roll out 2/3 of the dough and line the springform pan with it.

  • Spread the breadcrumbs over the bottom.

  • Place the springform pan in the fridge to rest.

apple filling

  • Put the raisins in some rum.

  • Peel the apples and cut into wedges.

  • Strain the raisins.

  • Mix the apple wedges with the soaked raisins, walnuts, sugar, vanilla sugar and cinnamon.

Compose

  • Spoon the filling into the pie pan.

  • Roll out the remaining dough and cover the top of the pie with it.

  • Brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with the almonds.

  • Bake the apple pie for about 60 minutes.

  • Let cool.

  • Dust with powdered sugar when serving the pie.


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