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Apples for pies and tarts

  • b

We live in the southwest and typically our grocery stores stock the following types of apples:

Red and Green Delicious
Cameo (sometimes)
Pink Lady’s
Granny Smiths

When I (attempt) to make a pie I always use Granny Smiths. I recently made a tart using Granny Smiths and I felt the apples just didn’t cook down enough – they were a bit too firm after 45 minutes in the oven but the crust was done and I really needed to pull the tart. I don’t want mushy apples either!

Which of the apples available in our stores would make a good alternate choice to the Granny Smith? I am thinking the Pink Lady as they as a pretty crisp and slightly tart apple but I don’t know how they would do once baked on the top of a tart.



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  1. I only use Granny Smith if I’m caramelizing the apples, such as Tarte Tatin. I love golden delicious during the fall. But after January I find golden delicious to be a little soft and drier for apple pie of any kind. From late Jan until early fall I use Macintosh apples.

    1. I use fujis, galas, pink ladies, and braeburns in my pies. They cook down more than grannys and have a nice flavor, never too soft. I, too, like golden delicious, but I agree, that after January, they tend to be a little soft. Macs are great for eating, but I've never had luck with them in my pies; too mushy.

      1. Granny only for me most of the time. Delicious during the Fall I admit but down in FL we always get good produce.

        1. The only apples that Ièm consistantly happy with for pies/tarts are "Northern Spy" apples. Once you've tried them, you won't go back!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: bigfellow

            Never seen them in the south however, gourmet markets or not.

            1. re: bigfellow

              The original poster doesn't have access to them, but where I live, Newton Pippins and jonagolds make great pies!

            2. I recently used Pink Lady's , chunked and Granny Smith's sliced smaller, for an apple crisp when I couldn't find my Northern Spy's...now I know that isn't a pie, but the technique of different sizes might do the trick!

              1. Granny's are my last choice. I also recently baked with Fuji's & Braeburns and found them too tough. My choices are, in order: Pink Lady, Gala, J.Gold, Golden delicious. Or a combination of some of all of them for varied texture.

                1 Reply
                1. re: soniabegonia

                  I agree with Golden, I forgot about them. Very good for me.

                2. Here is a link to the Washington Apple Commission page showing which apples are best for what. The Cripps Pink listed is the same as Pink Lady and is rated excellent for pies. Note that at the bottom of the page, there is a link to another page for other varieties. http://www.bestapples.com/varieties/i...

                  Keep in mind that you can use a mixture of different apples in your pies. Golden Delicious (what I assume is your "green delicious") is also a good pie apple. You could mix pink ladies and goldens. Or Granny Smiths and goldens.