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Oct 5, 2007 10:57 AM

Best apples for cake, bread?

It's fall -- at least it says so on the calendar -- and I want to bake with apples. I don't want to make a pie, though -- I want to make a bread, cake or tea-cake. I've got a recipe from King Arthur's Whole Grains cooking, but it doesn't specify what kind of apples to use.

Usually, when people speak of the best apples for baking, they mean pies, so they're talking about apples that keep their shape. What about when keeping the shape doesn't matter? In a cake or bread, does it matter as much what type of apple to use? Any thoughts on this? Thanks for your help!


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  1. Funny you should ask, this was just in our local newspaper yesterday. I bought some Cortlandts over the past weekend, and they have been very good for apple strudel, pie, and eating out of hand.

    From Oct. 4 Columbus Dispatch article:
    The five most popular apples in the United States, not necessarily in this order, are the Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Red Delicious, according to the University of Illinois Extension Service.

    Here are some other easy-to-find varieties if you’re seeking an apple with special culinary attributes:

    • Baking: Longtime favorites include the Cortland, McIntosh and Winesap. Some people prefer baking apples that hold their shape; others like them mushy. Blending is a good compromise.
    • Salads: Cortland and Granny Smith are firm apples with a pleasant, tangy taste. Neither browns quickly when sliced. Other salad favorites include Cameo, Fuji and Gala. Red Delicious also is popular, more for its color.
    • Ciders: Cider apples usually are juicier and more tart than the eating kind.
    Golden Delicious adds an attractive aroma to ciders. McIntosh and Rome are longtime cider favorites, while the spicy taste of the Baldwin brings a signature flavor to the drink.

    Apple juice and apple cider are technically the same drink, although ciders generally are unprocessed, contain more pulp and are cloudier.
    • Drying: Firm, tart apples fresh from the tree are said to be best for drying. Try Gravenstein, Jonathan and Rome Beauty.
    • Multipurpose: For eating in the hand, cooking or cider making, it’s hard to beat the McIntosh. Cortland is good for everything from apple crisp to kebabs.
    Honeycrisp, a relatively new variety, is notable for its watermelonlike crispness and honeylike flavor.

    1. It's hard to think about fall when it's 80 freaking degrees outside! But all the warm weather has pushed the apple harvest up a week or two.

      So we went to the orchard/cider mill last weekend and picked a bag of Northern Spies. They are great cooking apples--tart, and hold their shape, and since we like tart eating apples, they work well in that application also. I love them in apple cake!

      Cider good, donuts GOOD. Definitely going back in a couple of weeks when the trees have started to change colors and there's a bit of frost on the pumpkin (hopefully)