It’s apple season and that means apples of all kinds are more affordable at the store, and available from orchards. Not all apples are the same, however, at least when it comes to baking. Apples for pies need to have flavors that can hold up to the heat of the oven and structure, so they don’t turn into mush. Here are the best apples:
A classic tart apple, this is a great choice for baking if you want to make sure your recipe isn’t too sweet. It also keeps its structure, so you don’t end up with a mushy, watery pie.
Another apple that’s easy to find, the Golden Delicious doesn’t have a very strong flavor, so it’s really good to mix in with other apples (like Granny Smith).
A hybrid between Jonathon and Golden Delicious apples, this apple has a slightly tart flavor, but with a nice hit of sweetness, as well, that people compare to honey. This balance makes it a really good choice for pies.
One of the most popular apple varieties, Honeycrisp has a beautiful sweet flavor and it’s very crisp, so it really holds up in pies and other baking recipes.
Another crisp apple, Braeburns have a strong flavor. Best of all, it has natural hints of spice like cinnamon and nutmeg, so you know it will taste great in a pie.
The Cortland apple is tart and crisp, so it’s good for pies that use lots of sugar. It’s also a large apple, so you don’t need to buy as many.
For the best apple pie (or crisp), mix and match apple varieties. A balance of sweet and tart flavors will get a richer, more complex pie that won’t just taste like a mouthful of sugar. What about the peel? A lot of people peel the apple because the skin is tougher and can keep the apples from sticking together in the pie. However, many others like to keep the peel for color, nutritional value, and a bit of texture. It’s up to you. If you do want to use the peel but are considered about toughness, peel the apples first, and then chop up the skin into smaller pieces.