The Best Apples For Apple Pie
It’s apple pie season and it’s important to choose the best apples for apple pie. Choosing the right apples for baking can be a daunting task. I mean, seriously, there are over 7,5000 apple varieties. When it comes to pie not all apples are created equal. Choose a mix of firm & tart and firm & sweet varieties. Doing this adds diversity and depth of flavor, while holding their shape during the cooking process. No one wants a mushy pie.
Braeburn: A Firm & Sweet/Tart Variety Originating from New Zealand, Braeburn has a skin that’s muted red with golden-yellow undertones and tinges of faint green. It produces a firm, crisp bite and offers a pleasing balance between sweet and tart. Firm to the touch and great for baking as well as eating raw. Excellent when paired with Honeycrisp. Can be found in most supermarkets.
Granny Smith: A Firm & Tart Variety Classic green apple is firm, slightly sour, and perfect for pie making. It’s available everywhere.
Esopus Spitzenburg: A Firm & Tart Variety This is an heirloom variety that has flavors bright enough to make an excellent snack or pressed into cider. You’ll find this variety at farmers’ markets and makes a delicious pie filling.
Northern Spy: A Firm & Tart Variety Northern spy is thought to be the best apple variety for pies. Difficult to find at supermarkets, but many farmers’ markets have them.
Idared: A Firm & Tart Variety This tart and spicy apple is bright red in color when fully ripe. Not so easy to find in supermarkets, but popular at pick-your-own orchards and farmers’ markets.
Pink Pearl: A Firm & Tart Variety This variety is delicious and you’ll want to seek this variety out. Difficult to find, but can be found at some pick-your-own orchards. Search online in your area for a place to Pink Pearl.
Ginger Gold: A Firm & Sweet Variety Ginger Gold is a baker’s champion. This delicately sweet and crisp variety works well in pies, muffins, and cakes. Can be found in most supermarkets during autumn.
Golden Delicious: A Firm & Sweet Variety This is a mild tasting variety and is best when paired with heftier flavors. Very popular in the U.S. and can be found in any supermarket.
Honeycrisp: A Firm & Sweet Variety This is a crisp and predominately sweet variety. Very popular in the U.S. and can be found in most supermarkets. Great when paired with Braeburn for pie making.
Jazz: A Firm & Sweet Variety Great for eating raw as well as pie making. From New Zealand and can be found in most supermarkets.
Jonagold: A Firm & Sweet Variety A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties. Sweet and tart flavor and can be used on its own. Can be found in both supermarkets and farmers’ markets.
Pink Lady: A Firm & Sweet Variety The perfect combination of sweet and sour. Pink Lady is excellent for baking as well as eating raw. Can be found in supermarkets and farmers’ markets.
A Word About McIntosh Apples: Mcintosh variety is a popular choice for many bakers, but I don’t recommend them on their own if you’re using them for pies. They just don’t hold up well to heat and tend to cook down into a sauce before the pie crust is done cooking. If you love the flavor of McIntosh apples and just have to use them in pies then combine them with a much firmer variety like Pink Lady, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, or Northern Spy.
“Work With What You Got!”
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