Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Are the Best Apples for Baking?

raw apples

There are nearly 100 apple varieties sold commercially in the U.S. How do you choose the best ones for baking?

The key is to consider both flavor and texture. The apples you choose should be firm so they'll maintain their shape and not turn to sauce when cooked, and they should be slightly tart since you’ll sweeten them up with sugar and spices.

People have regional preferences for apple varieties such as MacIntosh in New England and Fuji in Washington. When possible choose fresh, locally grown apples, which will be more flavorful and allow you to brag -- “I baked this pie with apples I picked this morning!” Also, many bakers agree that the tastiest apple pies come from mixing sweet and tart apples. 

Here is run-down on the best apples for baking:

Best for pies: Sturdy, thick-skinned apples with a sweet-tart flesh. Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonagold, Jonathans, Pink Lady, Pippin, and Winesap.

Best for baked goods such as muffins, scones, and cakes: Firm apples with a sweet-tart flesh. Fuji, Gala, Empire, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Rome Beauty.

Best for applesauce: Softer, sweeter apples. Ambrosia, Cameo, Cortland, MacIntosh, and Macoun.

What are your favorite apples for baking?

Here are more apple recipes you might enjoy from Food Blogga:
Homemade Apple Sauce recipe from Food Blogga
Tuscan Torta di Mele (apple cake) recipe from Food Blogga
Apple- Maple Walnut Breakfast Quinoa recipe from Food Blogga

Here are more apple recipes you might enjoy from the blogosphere:
The Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie recipe from Kopiaste
Southern Fried Apple Pies recipe from Confabulation in the Kitchen
Apple, Walnut, Gorgonzola Rustic Tart recipe from Simply Recipes