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What are your favorite apple varieties, for pie and for straight eating?

The post about the apple pie "goof" got me jonesing for apple pie (not that that's hard to do). So I am sitting here now wondering, what varieties of apples do you all prefer, both for pies and for eating plain?

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  1. For pie, Rhode Island Greening. Hard to find outside of New England but I won't touch anything else at this point. For eating apples, Ginger Gold is a new found favorite. Basically, if it is off the tree, I'm in.

    Apples have become so disappointing! Even here in SW Ohio, there was a time you could get great russets, winesaps and macintosh. Now, it seems that all taste the same and none have the texture I remember.

    Ugh...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ernie Diamond

      Ernie, I'm not sure where you are in SW Ohio, but there are several great orchards near Dayton. Frank's Fruit Farm, on Kemp Rd, is closed for the season now (open from Jul - Nov), but I buy all kinds of fresh apples there and great unpasterized cider. There's another, Pfieffer Orchard on SR 68, just outside Yellow Springs, open until 31 Dec, which has wonderful fresh apples and cider as well; they keep them in cold storage and they're much better than the grocery store.

      1. re: Niki in Dayton

        I'm in Cincy.

        There are still places here where I can get them off the farm, but they don't seem to be as good as they were when I was a kid. Maybe I am misremembering.

        1. re: Ernie Diamond

          I know what you mean. The ones I got at the Greenmarket in NYC this year were not up to snuff - too much rain over the summer=larger apples with less flavor. Quite disappointing.

      2. re: Ernie Diamond

        I just discovered Newtown pippins. Great for baking AND eating. It's a firm apple so I wouldn't recommend for applesauce or apple butter. But my god the flavor is delightful.

        1. re: Dcfoodblog

          i *adore* everything about Pippins - flavor, texture, size, versatility...even consistency of quality. i've had the occasional bad or disappointing apple of all sorts - Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Arkansas Black, HoneyCrisp (you get the idea) - but i've never had a Pippin that wasn't great. definitely my favorite apple variety.

      3. At this time of year I would use a granny smith for a pie. I don't know the "Gee Whiz" brand. Not tart and crisp enough for me.

        When it is apple season I am very lucky to work two blocks from a fabulous farmer's market. Then I get RI Greening for the Thanksgiving pie. For eating Braeburne and Lady Apples are my favorite.

        1. Empire apples for eating. Crunchy, sweet and tart.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rochfood

            I agree with the Empire apples for eating. Especially the really dark red ones. The perfect balance of flavor. I also like honeycrisp.

            For pie, I have had good results with the America's Test Kitchen recipe where you do Granny Smith and Macintosh mixed together. You get the firmness of the Granny Smiths while the Macintoshes cook down to an applesauce consistency.

            1. re: AmyH

              I, too, like the Granny Smith/Mac combo for apple pie. I use about 2/3 Granny Smiths to 1/3 Macs. My go-to recipe is one for a Sauteed Apple Pie that was published a number of years ago in the NYTimes. It calls for 5 pounds of apples (a pain to peel and core, but well worth it) which are sauteed and lightly caramelized before being spooned into the crust. The Granny Smiths hold their shape so the apples mound high (no space between top crust and apples) and the Macs cook down and add marvelous flavor as well as balancing out the texture of the Granny Smiths.

              Here's a link to the recipe if anyone is interested (need to scroll to the next page):
              http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/14/din...

          2. Granny Smiths, Winesaps, HoneyCrisps, Braeburns, sometimes Jonathans. All for pies and for eating. I don't like watery apples that fall into mush in pies (like Macintosh).

            And Red Delicious should just be banned outright. Nothing like what they were 40 some-odd years ago. They *used* to be tasty.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LindaWhit

              "And Red Delicious should just be banned outright. Nothing like what they were 40 some-odd years ago. They *used* to be tasty."
              ~~~~~
              amen to that! i can't remember the last time i had a a Red Delicious that wasn't flavorless and/or mealy. it's been years.

            2. My favorite apple for pie is Cortland - the apples are big, crisp and cook well in pies. If Cortlands aren't available I will use Granny Smith.

              My fave eating apples are McIntosh, which get a little too soft in pies, and Granny Smith.