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Court Pendu Plat Apples
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Court Pendu Plat apples are round to oblate in shape with a distinct, wide and flattened appearance, connected to a short, fibrous stem. The skin is semi-rough, covered in light russeting and prominent lenticels, and the base is yellow-green, flushed with striping and patches of red-orange blush. Underneath the surface, the cream-colored flesh is fine-grained, dense, and dry, encasing a central core filled with small black-brown seeds. Court Pendu Plat apples are aromatic and have a fruity, somewhat nutty flavor with balanced sweetness and acidity. The level of sweetness will also increase with storage, developing mellower flavors reminiscent of pears.
Court Pendu Plat apples are available in the late fall.
Court Pendu Plat apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are an old French variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. Derived from the French name Corps Pendu, which translates to mean “short stalk,” Court Pendu Plat apples have a distinct, flattened appearance, growing tightly attached to the branch, similarly to the way peaches grow. The variety is also known as the Wise apple, a name earned from their late-flowering nature, which is a unique characteristic that protects the blossoms from frost damage. Court Pendu Plat apples were once widely cultivated in Europe during the Victorian times and were favored for their bright flavor, resistance to disease, and durability in cold climates. In the modern-day, the variety has become a specialty cultivar primarily grown in home gardens and is consumed fresh, out-of-hand as a dessert apple.
Court Pendu Plat apples are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system and protect the body against environmental aggressors. The apples are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion, and contain potassium and a wide range of antioxidants in addition to vitamin C.
Court Pendu Plat apples are best suited for raw applications as their dry flesh and strong flavor are showcased when consumed fresh. The variety also has a distinct, dense texture that is experienced best when sliced rather than biting into the flesh. Court Pendu Plat apples can be sliced and tossed into green salads, chopped into fruit salads, sliced and displayed on appetizer plates, or sliced and served with dips and chocolate. They can also be pressed into juices and ciders, or occasionally utilized in cooked applications such as baking. Court Pendu Plat apples pair well with spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, maple syrup, caramel, nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and meats such as poultry, beef, fish, or pork. The fresh fruits will keep 1-3 months when stored in a cool and dark place. The apples will slightly sweeten the longer they are properly stored, and the overall flavor will become more mellow and subtle.
Court Pendu Plat apples were featured in Paradisus in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, a famous 17th English century book written by botanist John Parkinson. Roughly translating from Latin to mean “Park in Sun’s Terrestrial Paradise,” the book is divided into three sections, including the orchard garden, flower garden, and kitchen garden. There are over eight hundred illustrations of different plant varieties, and much of the information included in the book stems from Parkinson’s own experience in his garden located at Long Acre in Convent Garden. Paradisus Terrestris is still considered to be one of the most popular English gardening books and is an extensive guide on how to organize and successfully create flourishing gardens that are suitable for the English climate.
Court Pendu Plat apples are native to France and were first mentioned in texts dating back to the 16th century in Normandy. The apples are believed to be much older than when they were first recorded, rumored to have even been cultivated during the Roman Empire, but the exact origin dates are unknown. Court Pendu Plat apples also became widely popular in England during the Victorian era in the 19th century and were grown in home gardens. Today Court Pendu Plat apples can be challenging to find in commercial markets are primarily available through specialty grocers and home gardeners.