We all love apples and if you have been to the market or orchard lately, there are a lot of varieties to choose from. If you are like me, sometimes I tend to use the same time of apple in everything from pies, to applesauce, to salads. Here is a great guide to selecting the appropriate variety of apple to help make all of your dishes come to life! So next time you take a trip to the orchard try out some of these apples!
A good baking apple holds its shape when cooked in a pie, tart, cake or other high-heat dish. The variety of tastes, textures and tartness in apples will influence your final product. The popular choice choice is the puckery Granny Smith. For a big, bold flavor in your apple pie, go for a sweet-tart Jazz or a pear-scented Pink Lady, also known as a Cripps Pink.
Flowery Galas and honey-sweet Fujis have a perfect medium firmness for cakes and muffins, allowing them to blend into softer baked goods better than denser apples, which are more suited to pies.
Ashmead’s Kernel is a tart, juicy apple that gets sweeter with heat. The rough-skinned Roxbury Russet is way too sour to eat raw, she say but comes alive when cooked. Calville Blanc d’Hiver, a very firm, citrusy French apple that dates back to the late 16th century, is the classic apple for making tarte tatin.
APPLESAUCE AND PUREE
For sauces and other purees, go to the opposite end of the spectrum. The spicy, supple McIntosh will melt like ice cream when baked, but creates a smooth, flavorful applesauce. The soft, tangy Jonathan and the sweet, crisp Empire will also deliver a flavorful puree. The Cox’s Orange Pippin, is a wonderful juicy heirloom for sauce.
Red Delicious, the classic apple-for-the-teacher, has a yielding texture and balanced sweetness that makes it a perfect salad apple. For something that will stay bright white longer, go for an Empire or a Courtland, with its thin skin and mild taste.
The apple you choose will depend on the characteristics of the meat you’re cooking. Pork and duck both do well with slightly sweet apples that also have good acid. Crisp Golden Delicious, tarter Jonagold, or the big, exuberant Pink Lady work particularly well.
For beef, a very tart apple like a Granny Smith works best.
Red Delicious and its yellow namesake, Golden Delicious, are the classic snacking apples with a mild flavor and thin skin. But when you want a great big apply apple, try Honey Crisp, one of the juiciest, crunchiest apples around. Tangy sweet Jonagolds, which mix the tartness of Jonathan and the gentle flavor of the Golden Delicious offers a lot of flavor!
Braeburns and Galas give good crunch with delicate aromas, and a nice balance of sweetness and acid. For nature’s equivalent of a candy bar, grab a Fuji.
The Golden Delicious may be the original all-purpose apple. With a firm texture that holds up to baking and a mild flavor and sweetness, it does well in pies and tarts, as well as alongside your peanut butter. Ashmead’s Kernel, a great baking apple, also has a juiciness that earns its popularity with cider makers and a mild acidity that makes it wonderful to bite into.
Honey Crisp, with its big, juicy bite, makes a great snack and a fabulous cider. Its firm texture also gives it integrity in a pie. Though they’re great for cooking, they can also be expensive, making them best for enjoying raw.
For richer desserts such as pies, tarts, buttery cakes go with more acidic apples. For more delicate sweets, go with a sweeter apple.
With cheese – a classic apple pairing – join strong cheeses, such as Parmesan, cheddar and even Roquefort, with big acid and big sweetness, such as Jazz or Honey Crisp. For softer, milder cheeses, such as Camembert or brie, go with the more delicate Fuji or Gala.
If you like sugar and spice, try pairing a Granny Smith with chili powder, salt and a squeeze of lime.