Is the apple of your eye the best one for pie?
The kind of apple you grab for a quick, healthy snack is a matter of taste—some like them face-puckering tart, others like them juicy and sweet—but the kind of apple you bake with really does make a difference. With more than 2500 varieties of apples grown in the United States alone, choosing the right apples for pies, tarts, sauces and other fall desserts can sometimes be confusing.
We’ve scoured the internet for advice on apple selection, and have come up with some suggestions for eager apple lovers looking to get busy in the kitchen.
When it comes to pies, the ideal variety of apple is one that will withstand the heat and not turn to mush inside the pie shell. It’s an apple pie, not an applesauce pie, after all! A pie apple should also be a little tart, since pie filling tends to include a lot of sugar, and a good balance of tart and sweet is pleasing.
According to Baking Bites, you should look for Granny Smith, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pippin, Gravenstein, Braeburn, Fuji or Pink Lady apples for pie making. They’re all crisp, sturdy and not too sweet.
You can also create your own signature pie blend, if you want to experiment a little. Try using one of the crisp varieties above, but add in some sweeter, softer apples to create a pie with a little extra sweetness and a more saucy texture.
Now that you know which apples to put in your pie, visit Country Living for 16 different delicious apple pie recipes you might want to try.
If applesauce is on the menu, look for soft apples. Any kind of apple will eventually break down if you let it cook long enough, so it’s fine to use whatever apple you have on hand or like best, but soft apples do the work faster!
Try Golden Delicious, Melrose, Cortland, McIntosh, Rome, Lodi, Gala or Yellow Transparent the next time you pull out the pot to make a batch of sauce.
One of the nice things about applesauce is that you don’t necessarily have to add sugar—the apples are often all the sweet you need—so it’s a healthy, homemade snack or accompaniment to pork chops or potato latkes . Check out Canadian Living’s sugar-free, 3-ingredient applesauce recipe. If you do prefer adding a little sugar to the mix, try this recipe by The Pioneer Woman.
Buying your apples from a local farmer or farm market is a great way to get inside information about the best way to use the apples you’ve just picked from the orchard or selected from a market stall. Ask the farmers for their opinions on what types of recipes their apples are best suited for, or which of their apple varieties are best for eating out of hand.
Pies and applesauce are what we tend to think of when we think about cooking or baking with apples, but don’t forget about treats like apple butter, a delectable spread you can slather on buttered toast, apple cake and baked apples .
In fact, Mr. Food has 33 different easy apple recipes, so get in your kitchen and enjoy the best this beautiful—and delicious—season has to offer!
411450B CAN/US (04/15)